Monday, June 11, 2007

Cut the food tax!

I was downtown in front of the capitol before 7 this morning along with about 8 other people waiting to trade a grocery receipt for a Kroger gift card courtesy of the Republican House Caucus. It didn't take but an hour for them to hand out all their $5.00 Kroger gift cards.

The state has got some $1.7 BILLION in unexpected additional revenue (thanks to a tremendous economy) and yet we've got to beg our legislature to return to the citizens even a portion of this overage. There is $83 million for property on the Cumberland Plateau but families are supposed to be content with maybe a 1/2% reduction in the food tax??? I've provided over $1,000.00 in food tax money to the state. Too many of the legislators think I should be happy getting a $5.00 break. Shoot--at least the Republican caucus was able to double that to $10.

There wasn't much drive by traffic but a good number of horns were honked in support.

There was, however, a steady stream of what appeared to be office workers passing by on their way to work. Apparently they got to work and bragged about the free money they'd gotten and their office mates realized this 'stunt' was the real deal. And so shortly after the first wave of 'going to work' folks here came their officemates, likely taking an early coffee break, climbing the hill with a receipt in hand to collect their share.

There were several moms, with children in tow, that found a parking place and made the hike up the hill. I can't think of a better illustration of what's at stake than the one at the left. Rep. Matthew Hill (R-Jonesborough) and Rep. Glen Casada (R-College Grove) speak with a mom and her daughters who've come to exchange a receipt for $10.00 worth of gift cards.

The folks I chatted with seemed to appreciate the effort. Some were kicking themselves for cleaning out their purses/wallets and not having a receipt.

Rep. Susan Lynn (R-Lebanon) was there along with Rep. Jason Mumpower (R-Bristol), Rep. Glen Casada (R-College Grove), Rep. Mike Bell (R-Riceville), Rep. Matthew Hill (R-Jonesborough) and a couple of others that I couldn't recognize from my position down the hill at 6th and Charlotte.

I appreciate the effort these legislators made on behalf of families across the state. I'm glad to support them in their effort to support my family.

I understand the argument that the sales tax is a stable source of revenue but that doesn't give the legislature the right to abuse that source by making big plans to spend this gargantuan excess on personal pet projects. We've got families who could really use their $1,000 in grocery taxes back.

One final question---where are all those advocates for the poor who were so vocal in their assertions that the grocery tax had to go back when we were on the cusp of an income tax? Why haven't they been around making a fuss and demanding refunds for these families? There still wouldn't be a better, more immediate benefit for them than to have the tax on groceries disappear.

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