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Gov. Bill Lee proposes two-week sales tax holiday for restaurant, bar and grocery purchases

The proposal was fueled by better-than-expected revenues during the COVID-19 pandemic.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee is proposing a $100 million, two-week sales tax holiday on restaurants, bars and groceries.

On Tuesday, the Republican’s finance team presented lawmakers a budget amendment to his $42 billion spending plan. 

The proposal was fueled by better-than-expected revenues during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When those sales tax holidays would occur has not yet been determined. They typically occur in late July.

The plan drew scrutiny from the state’s top teacher advocacy group, which said now is the right time to include a much bigger investment in public schools.

The spending items must still clear the Republican-controlled General Assembly.

According to the governor's office, the amended spending plan includes $580 million in available funds as a result of "fiscal prudence."

Last year state authorities feared the state would suffer long-term deficits because of the pandemic. Tennessee, however, has fared well and finds itself with extra revenue for programs.

On Tuesday the governor's office also said it was putting in $13.5 million to help a Knoxville-Knox County sports authority cover construction of a $65 million downtown sports stadium.