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Rep. Hank Vaupel votes against House Bill 4999, a tax on food

Rep. Vaupel supports bill to prohibit local taxes on food

Legislator says impact would hurt families, farmers

State Rep. Hank Vaupel today voted for legislation to ban local governments from imposing taxes on the manufacture, distribution and sale of food and beverages.

Vaupel, of Handy Township, said he wholeheartedly supports the Michigan Food Access and Affordability Act. The bill, which was approved by the House with bipartisan backing, is the first state legislation in the nation to ban local imposition of taxes on all food and drink. It was introduced by state Rep. Rob VerHeulen of Walker.

“To allow a municipality to impose a tax on food would have devastating consequences for families, farmers, and small grocery stores and markets,” Vaupel said. “Low-income families that already struggle to make ends meet would see their budgets stretched even thinner. Farmers who work so hard to feed us could find it difficult to sell their products.”

The measure was introduced after communities in Illinois and Pennsylvania began taxing food sales and production. As a result, Vaupel said, families started buying groceries in neighboring communities where the tax was not collected, and grocery stores had to cut hours or lay employees off to offset the loss of business.

“Michigan is a leader in farm-to-table dining, and the last thing farming families need is a burdensome tax imposed on the goods they work so hard to produce” Vaupel said. “A tax on food is prohibited in the Michigan Constitution, and that ban should be expanded to include municipalities that are trying to balance their budgets on vulnerable families.”

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

 

(The Michigan Food Access and Affordability Act is House Bill 4999).

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