EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Raphael Warnock introduces proposal for tax-free holiday

Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 5:12 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - On Wednesday, Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock introduced a bill that would allow states and cities to hold a tax-free holiday on essential items like food and clothes.

The senator discussed his proposed legislation called the “Relief for Families Act” with WALB’s Jim Wallace.

“Well, I’m hearing from Georgians that these times in which they are clearly feeling squeezed by the rising costs. And I’ve been focused on providing people relief from the day I’ve arrived in the Senate. And today I introduced the Relief For Families Act, which will enable state and local leaders to give the people of Georgia, the people of the Albany area, a tax holiday. This will certainly help the ordinary consumer in their pocketbook or wallet. It will also be a boost to small businesses who are also feeling the pinch, with these rising costs. Working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle, we hope to get this passed sooner rather than later,” said Warnock.

“The idea of using American Rescue Act money, will that help make this possible without hurting inflation worst?” Wallace asked.

“This is money that has already been provided, as you point out, by the American Rescue Plan. And it will allow local leaders from Albany to have a tax holiday,” Warnock answered.

“Tell us what will be included in that tax holiday.”

“The tax holiday will cover essential items. The Treasury will have a role in what that is. But when you think about essential items, we’re talking about groceries. The cost of diapers, just ordinary items that people need. Hygiene items, the things that we spend every day that are essential. And with Albany, a sales tax of 8%, that’s a real help for ordinary folks,” Warnock explained.

“Do you feel pretty confident that this will pass and come to fruition?”

“I am going to fight with everything within me to be sure we get this across the finish line. This is a win-win. This is money we already allocated through the American Rescue Plan, so this is not new money. And I was proud to stand up for Georgia last week, as there were those who were trying to claw this money back. No. And Georgia certainly deserves a lot of credit here. We would have not passed the American Rescue Plan if Georgians had not stood up in the way that they did, and sent me and my colleague Jon Ossoff to the United States Senate. And as a result of that, we were able to pass the American Rescue Plan. Again, this is not new money. It enables local areas like Albany and its leaders to offer a sales tax holiday, while at the same time not costing the state of Georgia any more money or the local municipalities, being covered by American Rescue dollars. This is a win-win all around. And I would hope even in a place that’s so often paralyzed by partisan politics like Washington, that common sense will prevail,” Warnock said.

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