Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam says he wants to make reductions in the state's estate tax and a small reduction on the sales tax on groceries.

Tuesday's announcement marked a reversal from the Republican's previous statements that he didn't believe the state could afford a tax break amid a tough budget situation.

The proposal would lower the sales tax on food from 5.5% to 5.3%.

Haslam's plan would also increase the inheritance tax exemption from the first $1 million to $1.25 million. The governor said ultimate goal is to bring Tennessee's exemption to federal level of $5 million.

Among the governor's other proposals are bills to change civil service rules among state employees to make it easier to hire and fire state workers, create more cash incentives for businesses locating in Tennessee and restructuring 22 state boards and commissions.

The General Assembly kicked off second session of the 107th General Assembly earlier on Tuesday.

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