Part of the IMPROVE Act went into effect July 1. The IMPROVE Act is an acronym for “Improving Manufacturing, Public Roads and Opportunities for a Vibrant Economy.” One of these improvements includes a statewide grocery tax cut for Tennessee. The tax has been cut from five percent to four percent, a twenty percent decrease, totaling $125 million.
Governor Bill Haslam, State Representative Susan Lynn and Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto visited Houston’s Meat and Produce on N. Mt. Juliet Rd. July 6, to discuss the new act and tax cuts in a press conference.
“We’ve reduced the cost of government, and we’re returning those dollars in tax cuts. The sales tax on food is a tax that all Tennesseans pay, and the IMPROVE Act is a conservative and responsible plan that puts dollars back into the pockets of all Tennesseans by cutting the grocery tax and directly addresses how we fund our roads and bridges for the first time in 30 years,” Haslam said.
Houston’s owner, Chris Houston is hopeful about the changes taking place.
“I don’t know if it’s going to spur people to cook more,” Houston said, “but ultimately it’s going to save everyone money. it’s a good deal for us as consumers.”
Houston’s was founded 25 years ago, by his parents Jerry and Sharon Houston.
“They had always been in the food business and always been in Mt. Juliet,” Houston said, “so there was never any question about where they were going to start the business.”
The market features fresh meats, off-site catering, fresh deli salads, including the “County famous chicken salad,” a hot lunch counter, produce and grocery items.
Houston was pleased that the Governor chose his store as the location for the press conference.
“It was an honor, it was very exciting,” Houston said, “He seemed like a very personable guy, he was easy to talk to, very approachable. ”
Rep. Susan Lynn represents the Wilson County District and had an instrumental part in getting the Act passed in Mt. Juliet.
“She’s been a big proponent of that (Improve Act)and I think she’s doing a good job,” Houston said.
The new IMPROVE Act helps Tennessee maintain its ranking as having the lowest taxes in the nation, as a percentage of personal income.
Another major part of the Act is putting resources into roadway improvements. With the population and traffic increasing in Mt. Juliet, residents have been vocal about the desperate need for road improvements. This Act will fund 960 new road projects in 95 counties, 10 of these projects are in Wilson County.
The controversial gas tax, that is also included in the Act, raises taxes by 4 cents on every gallon, but allows for addressing a $10.5 billion backlog in needed road repairs and also allows the food tax cut.
Houston believes that overall, the Act will have a positive impact for the community.
“We still aren’t losing any money,” he said, “The surplus they have is going toward building roads that we desperately need.”