House Dems want surplus tax collections for scholarships, cutting food sales tax

Thursday, July 21, 2011 at 3:59pm

House Democrats called Thursday for devoting any surplus state tax collections to cutting the sales tax on food and giving scholarships to college students.

“When the state is taking in more money than needed, as we’ve seen over the last few months, then this money needs to go back to Tennesseans, not into the state’s pocket book,” House Democratic leader Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley told a news conference.

Fitzhugh said Democrats will introduce legislation in January at the start of the 2012 session. Among the bill’s sponsors are Nashville Reps. Janis Sontany, Mike Stewart, Mike Turner, Gary Moore and Mary Pruitt.

“Tennessee has a revenue surplus,” Fitzhugh said. “This money belongs to the people and should be used to their benefit.”

June marked the 11th consecutive month that state tax collections exceeded the budgeted estimates. June revenues were $1.07 billion — $32 million more than the state budgeted.

The state’s new budget year started July 1. The state Funding Board has estimated revenues will grow by roughly 3 percent during the fiscal year. Under the Democratic bill, any greater increase would go to cutting the 5.5 sales tax on food and for need-based college scholarships.

Democrats dismissed questions from reporters wondering why the legislature would choose to limit its options at a time of potential cuts in spending for health care, schools and other services.

Like most Democratic proposals, this one has nearly no chance of passage in the Republican-dominated legislature and seems mainly tailored for political appeal in the upcoming election year.

8 Comments on this post:

By: tdterry1999 on 7/22/11 at 5:51

Got to love it.Democrats wanting to spend money so bad ,that they can't even till it comes in.Vote them out.

By: tdterry1999 on 7/22/11 at 5:52

Can't even wait.

By: gdiafante on 7/22/11 at 6:21

Yeah, God forbid that ordinary citizens benefit from anything...especially when it's their money anyway.

By: govskeptic on 7/22/11 at 6:53

Fitzhugh has to have a quarterly photo op and "helping the people" moment in
order to keep his minority leadership position! Otherwise the voters might
forget who he is, and we can allow that to happen as the 2nd session is only
5 months away!

By: Nitzche on 7/22/11 at 7:33

do we still have a democrat party?

By: Radix on 7/22/11 at 8:29

Spend it! Worry about where it comes from later... Typical.

Tennessee does NOT have a revenue surplus:

By: pswindle on 7/22/11 at 11:39

The democrats want it to go to the people of TN. They just want to make sure that it does not go to the wealthy in one way or another. Maybe it will go to the oil industry where Haslam is King. The dems are trying to put the money where it will help.

By: Nitzche on 7/22/11 at 9:39

oil industry? you better be riding a bike Will Rogers?