Governor Haslam signs grocery tax reduction bill - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Governor Haslam signs grocery tax reduction bill

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WHITWELL, TN. (WRCB) -- You'll soon be spending a little less at the grocery store.

Monday afternoon, Governor Bill Haslam signed into law the grocery tax reduction bill.

But before you start spending your savings, Channel 3 takes a look at just how much you'll bank.

Lifetime Whitwell resident Stella Morrison won't mind spending less at the grocery store.

"I think it's a great idea," Morrison says. "We've heard about it in other states."

Monday, Governor Bill Haslam signed into law the grocery tax reduction bill outside Smith Brothers Grocery in Marion County.

Store owner Billy Joe Smith says any little bit helps.

"Seventy-five percent of these people are probably on some type of a check, whether it be social security or unemployment," Smith says. "Anything will help these people in this little, small community."

The bill decreases the state sales tax rate on sale of food and food ingredients from 5.5 percent to 5.25 percent.

On average, it will save shoppers 75 cents a week, and cost the State of Tennessee $18 million a year.

"The fact that we are able to cut it a quarter percent this year, and another quarter percent next year, I think is significant," Governor Haslam says. "While it won't help everyone a lot, it does help everyone some and I think that's an important first step."

In this small community, a little goes a long way.

And the tax reduction is a bonus to a visit from Tennessee's governor.

"Everyone kept walking up to me and saying you're the best governor that's been here in a long, long time," Governor Haslam says. "And then the mayor let the secret out that I'm the only one that's been here in a while."

"Population: 1,800 and we get to see the governor," Billy Joe Smith says. "Yeah, that's great."

The lower tax will go into effect July 1, with the new budget.

The governor's plan is to reduce the rate to five percent next year, and this legislation was the first step in that process.

Haslam says an increase in revenue and department cuts will help the state pay for the reduction.

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