NASHVILLE, Tenn (WKRN) — If you’ve shopped for groceries lately, you’ve probably felt the impact of rising inflation. But there is some relief on the way.
On Thursday, Governor Bill Lee spoke at the state’s annual grocers conference, thanking industry workers that have kept Tennesseans fed through COVID, supply chain shortages, and now, inflation.
“We have the highest inflation in 40 years and there are a lot of reasons for that. But what we’re trying to do at the local level is work with folks like this to mitigate the damage that it does for Tennesseans,” Governor Lee said.
Tennessee lawmakers are working to provide some relief at the register for consumers. Last month, they approved a plan in the FY 2022-2023 budget that will provide a 30-day grocery sales tax suspension.
“We’ve tried to respond to the inflationary pressures on Tennesseans. We’ve instituted a suspension of the sales tax on food for the month of August along with other tax cuts,” Governor Lee said.
The USDA estimates grocery bills could increase another 5% to 6% in 2022.
Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association President Rob Ikard said as prices rise nationwide, food retailers are forced to mark up their products.
“It’s very stressful for the retail grocer to have to put higher prices out for their customers who they love and take care of every week,” Ikard said.
Of course, the grocery tax suspension is only temporary. Governor Bill Lee said it’s possible it could be extended, but called it a “legislative decision.” Lawmakers don’t resume session until January 2023.
The tax suspension starts in August.