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Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 9:50am

Food Banks Could Lose Sales Tax-Exemption

A vote from the General Assembly would be required to re-up the sales tax-exempt status of Georgia’s food banks. But with the state facing a budget deficit of more than $1 billion it’s uncertain whether lawmakers will come to their aid.

Michael Firmin is the executive director of the Golden Harvest Food Bank in Augusta. He says the recession has caused a significant increase in the number of people depending on food banks to survive. Losing their sales tax-exempt status, Firmin says, would be a severe blow.

"It will roll back our ability probably by one third of the amount we’ve had to increase just to keep up with the need in our state," said Firmin.

Governor Sonny Perdue has already announced that he plans to eliminate the sales tax exemption for non-profit hospitals. Other organizations being threatened are free health clinics and job training centers.