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Rep. Matthew Hill used the discussion over the reduction in the sales tax on food to spin a fairy tale about Democratic obstruction of these measures in the past.
Hill said that he “wanted the record to be crystal clear” that it was the Democrats who wouldn’t allow these reductions in the past, and that it is the Republicans who are now passing it.
In the “if their lips are moving, they are lying” fashion, this is just utter nonsense. The last reduction in the sales tax on food was carried by Rep. Craig Fitzhugh under Speaker Naifeh’s tenure and with a Democratic Governor signing the bill. That reduction was half a percent, and it was passed in 2007. This reduction, in contrast, is only a quarter of a percent, and was only tacked onto the legislative agenda after Democratic Leader Fitzhugh pushed for its passage last year.
Rep. Fitzhugh rose to say that “this is not about partisanship” and that while they all think the sales tax on food is immoral, it hasn’t been repealed under Democratic or Republican administrations because its a stable form of revenue and, absent a replacement source, the state couldn’t afford to do without it.
The fact is, if Rep. Hill agrees with Leader Fitzhugh that this sales tax on food is immoral, they should be trying to find ways to replace it with a fairer tax, not simply pat themselves on the back for what amounts to pennies for the average Tennessean compared to the millions in tax breaks for a wealthy few that was passed just prior to this bill being voted on.
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