SAVANNAH, Georgia (WSAV) — Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock is pushing a plan to give Georgians and those in other states a much-deserved sales tax holiday.
Wednesday, Warnock — a Democrat who grew up in public housing in Savannah — introduced the Relief for Families Act of 2022. It calls for states to be able to use federal COVID relief money to offset not collecting sales tax.
“It’s a win, win. It’s a win for the people of Georgia, it’s a win certainly for small businesses and this is money that’s already covered through the American Rescue Plan,” Warnock said. “This will enable our state leaders to have a tax holiday.”
He says many states still have money available from the American Rescue Plan. Georgia received up to $8 Billion.
“We could make good use of these funds and give people some relief in their pocketbooks and their wallets,” said Warnock.
He envisions three-day sales tax holidays or says states may want to extend the sales tax suspension for longer than that, maybe as long as several months.
Warnock acknowledged the cost of just about everything is increasing. While many Republicans in Congress have been quick to blame the Biden Administration policies for inflation, Warnock says some of the problems are still pandemic and supply chain-related.
But in terms of current inflation, Warnock says a sales tax holiday could help those who it the most.
“Well, in Savannah the total sales tax is 7%,” said Warnock. “So imagine a 7% cut on the cost of groceries, hygiene items, a coat for your kid, a whole variety of essential items. This is a real tax cut and the thing I like about this tax cut is that it helps ordinary people.”
While Warnock’s legislation may pass the Senate, it only provides states with the flexibility to cut sales tax, doing it is strictly voluntary.
“That’s right, it’s up to the state to decide to use the funds but they are available and this is not new money, we already provided this money and here’s an opportunity to put it to good use,” said Warnock.