Haslam highlights grocery tax cut in Mt. Juliet

Xavier Smith • Jul 6, 2017 at 5:12 PM

Gov. Bill Haslam visited Houston’s Meat and Produce in Mt. Juliet on Thursday to tout the state’s grocery tax reduction, which took effect Saturday as a part of the IMPROVE Act.

The IMPROVE Act created the largest tax cut in state history while delivering a safe, reliable and debt-free transportation network, according to Haslam. The IMPROVE Act cuts $125 million in sales tax on groceries by reducing the tax rate from 5 to 4 percent and is a net tax savings for average Tennessee families – a fact confirmed by the Americans for Tax Reform, an organization that opposes all tax increases as a matter of principle.

“We live in a very conservative state, and there was no way we were just going to go and raise a tax like the gas tax – no matter how badly it was needed – without addressing the other side,” Haslam said.

The state’s gas tax increased by 4 cents for every gallon Saturday as a part of the IMPROVE Act, which prioritizes 962 road and bridge projects across all of Tennessee’s 95 counties, addressing a $10.5 billion backlog in repairs and updates.

“We’ve reduced the cost of government, and we’re returning those dollars in tax cuts. The sales tax on food is a tax that all Tennesseans pay, and the IMPROVE Act is a conservative and responsible plan that puts dollars back into the pockets of all Tennesseans by cutting the grocery tax and directly addresses how we fund our roads and bridges for the first time in 30 years,” Haslam said.

Under the IMPROVE Act, a total of 962 projects throughout the state are set to start within the next eight years, including 10 Wilson County road projects. 

Among the Wilson County projects are two highly debated roadways in State Route 109 and South Mt. Juliet Road. The State Route 109 project is designated for the roadway from Highway 70 and north to the county line at Dry Fork Creek. The 7.5 miles of work is estimated to cost $18.5 million. The South Mt. Juliet Road project is estimated to cost $25.4 million to address the area between Central Pike and Providence Way. 

The IMPROVE Act also cuts business taxes for manufacturers by $113 million and has already helped attract manufacturing jobs to the state. In May, Nokian Tyres cited the IMPROVE Act as a major factor in its decision to invest $360 million in a new tire manufacturing facility in Dayton that is expected to create 400 new jobs, according to Haslam. 

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