NASHVILLE – Representative Matthew Hill (R-Jonesborough) fought last night for food tax relief for all Tennesseans. The 42 cent per pack cigarette tax increase was presented on the floor last night, with Republicans offering a myriad of amendments that would have given Tennesseans relief from the tax on food. The amendments were eventually defeated, however, and the cigarette tax bill passed.

“In a year when we have a $1.5 billion surplus, I believe it is fiscally irresponsible to raise taxes of any kind,” Hill stated after the two and a half hour debate. “We have a record breaking surplus, and still there are those that still want more of your money.”

Hill was adamant that all the initiatives that have been a priority for the General Assembly could be funded without any kind of tax increase, noting that the public is being misled. “The Republicans presented an alternative budget that I endorsed that fully funded all the things that the Administration felt was important, without raising one red cent in taxes,” said Hill. “Everyone knew it could be done, but the rush to rubberstamp the Governor’s proposal and what the Senate had done was just appalling,” he added.

Hill said he and his Republican colleagues will continue the fight for a reduction in the sales tax on food. “The session is not over, and I promise we will fight for this tax relief until the bitter end. The hardworking people of this state deserve that. I remain 100 percent committed.”