Commission to hear resolution on a moratorium on gas tax, ending food tax

Published 9:24 pm Wednesday, March 9, 2022

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR STAFF
Dr. Robert Acuff wants to do something to help the residents of Carter County as gas prices soar.
As chairman of the county’s health and welfare committee, Acuff said he plans to ask the full county commission to consider a resolution endorsing a proposed 90-day moratorium on the state’s 27.4 cents per gallon gas tax as well as ending taxes on food items.
Acuff’s committee voted 5-3 to send the resolution, which would allow the county’s legislators to appeal to Gov. Bill Lee for the gas tax moratorium.
“With the increase in gas and food cost along with the continuation of inflation, I would ask that you consider the resolution and its intent to seek relief for the citizens of our county,” said Acuff said in an email to commissioners this week.
If the resolution is passed, it would be filed with the Northeast Tennessee delegation for their consideration as the commission has no authority over the issues, Acuff said.
The resolution read in part states the following:
“… the COVID-19 Pandemic and the governmental response thereto has resulted in negative economic consequences throughout the United States, the State of Tennessee, and especially in rural areas such as Carter County; and WHEREAS, one of the ongoing consequences is the unprecedented levels of inflation we are now facing which leaves many of our citizens struggling to make ends meet and often requires citizens to make difficult choices to forego the purchase of basic necessities such as food.
“…and WHEREAS, further contributing to the problem is the uncertainty that comes with the conflict in Ukraine that has led to increased instability in the economy and the rapid rise in the already high gasoline prices, which is an essential commodity for those in rural areas such as Carter County to allow them to get to a job and attempt to earn a living; and WHEREAS, Tennessee is one of only thirteen states in the country that still imposes a state sales tax on groceries and legislation is being considered in other states to provide some relief through the repeal or reduction of this tax; and WHEREAS, a temporary moratorium on the state tax portion of the sales tax on gasoline and motor fuel can also provide some much needed relief for the citizens of Tennessee.”
On Tuesday, state Reps. John Ray Clemmons and Bo Mitchell, both Democrats from Nashville, asked Lee via letter for a 90-day moratorium on the state’s gas and diesel taxes according to Nashville news station Action 5 News.
With the ongoing conflict in Ukraine as Russia continues to wage war and the Biden administration’s announcement that the United States will cease importing oil from Russia, the fear is even in putting a 90-day hold on the tax that gas prices will continue to soar.
The moratorium follows suit with the recent announcement by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp that he plans to suspend the state’s motor fuel tax in response to rising gas prices due to the Russian conflict in Ukraine.
New York is considering similar measures.

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