JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – Higher prices at the grocery store affect us all, and here in Mississippi, more taxes are added to that bill than any other state in the country.
“We believe halving the tax on groceries is a huge benefit to our citizens,” President Philip Gunn said in 2021.
“By eliminating the food tax, we would at least give them some relief,” Senate Minority Leader Senator Derrick Simmons said in 2021.
Neither a reduction nor an elimination is in place in Mississippi. Meanwhile, Tennessee’s month-long food tax suspension is underway. So we’re asking Mississippi lawmakers if they think the issue will be reconsidered.
“I don’t think we can afford to ignore it,” said Rep. Robert Johnson, House Minority Leader. “It’s an election year. It’s, you know, gas and groceries are where people are hit the hardest, and so we had an opportunity to do something about those two elements.
A cut in the grocery tax was tied to the broader tax reform plans that went through several iterations before final passage. However, Republican Senator Jeremy England says there is a domino effect complicating an elimination of the tax.
“One of the big things we need to look at is that if we reduce the tax on groceries, we’re disrupting our municipalities and our counties and their revenue streams,” England noted. “So that’s something we really need to talk to him about before we do that.”
What about a temporary suspension like Tennessee?
“I know there was talk last year about us doing this with the gas tax,” England added. “And so I know there’s, you know, there’s a thought behind it. And there are a few ideas, and look, we all want to help our Mississippians whenever we can to keep money in their pockets. I’m not a fan of temporary tax cuts. I’d rather just get in there and cut taxes.
Democrats say no matter what happens, they plan to put it back together.
“The grocery sales tax creates an equality gap, more than any other, because working people and the working poor are where they spend their money on the things they need to buy. And so it has a more detrimental effect on those people,” Rep. Johnson added. “The fairest tax cut we could do was a food tax.”
The legislature returns to the State Capitol in January.
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