News 12 at 6, March 8, 2009
AUGUSTA, Ga.---Georgians may soon have an added expense at the grocery store, as lawmakers debate bringing back the state tax on groceries.
Sharon Price loves that her children help unload the groceries, but only wishes the bill weren't so high. On a weekly basis, she says she spends about $150 on two people.
Now that grocery bill may get a little steeper, as Georgia lawmakers consider bringing back state sales tax on groceries.
Tax collections in the peach state took a nosedive in February, down about 35 percent, a shortfall of $336 million from this time last year.
"I do think everybody's got to eat so we're going to put some weight back on the system. If people can't afford groceries, we're going to have to come up with a way to feed people that are hungry. So i think there's probably another area they could take the money from," said Price.
Right now on groceries, Georgians only pay local tax. The items have been exempt from sales tax since the 90's.
Augustan Bobby Poole says he'd only agree with the taxes if they were part of the fair tax, but understands times are tough for the state.
"It'd be more of a burden on me and my family but if that was the only way to raise the revenue I guess that would be okay. I'm not necessarily for it but to help balance the budget you have to do what you have to do," said Poole.
One representative says bringing it back could bring in as much as $250 million a year.
The proposal passed in committee and should head to the House some time this week.
An income tax credit would also go into effect. It would be determined by a standard deduction or people could save receipts from groceries.