© 2023
Virginia's Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Virginia Senators defeat effort to further cut the grocery tax, House bills remain

A customer removes her purchases at a Kroger grocery store. (Rogelio V. Solis/AP)
Rogelio V. Solis
A customer removes her purchases at a Kroger grocery store.

Last year, members of the General Assembly got rid of the state portion of the grocery tax. Now, lawmakers are considering several bills to get rid of the rest of it.

Governor Glenn Youngkin campaigned on a platform of getting rid of the grocery tax. Last year, he signed a bill to get rid of the state portion, and now lawmakers are considering legislation to get rid of the rest of it.

Senator David Suetterlein is a Republican from Roanoke County.

"It hits working families. It's made all the worse during times of inflation like right now," Suetterlein explains. "At the same time, there's record income tax revenue and general sales tax revenue. And it would make sense that during a time like that to shift our tax system away from relying on grocery taxes."

A Senate panel rejected Suetterlein's bill to eliminate the local portion of the grocery tax after Senator Chap Petersen, a Democrat from Fairfax City, raised concerns about local governments needing that money.

"I'm all about reducing regressive taxes. But to just take away what would have been about a quarter of a billion dollars in potential tax revenue for our localities, I hit pause," Petersen explains. "And I think we all did."

Not everybody wants to pause the discussion about ditching the grocery tax. Senate Democrats may have rejected the Senate bills, but House Republicans still have similar bills on the other side of the building.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.