State Senate approves resolution to ban income tax in Tennessee

Wednesday, March 9, 2011 at 11:04am

Recalling political protests that roiled the legislature a decade ago, senators voted Wednesday to amend the Tennessee constitution to ban the state income tax.

The Senate voted 28-5 for the Republican-backed resolution. If it also passes the House by a majority in this General Assembly and then by a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate in the next, it would go on the ballot for voter approval in the 2014 elections.

In 2002, a state income tax won 45 votes in the House and drew rowdy protests to the Capitol. The state Supreme Court has ruled three times — most recently in 1964 — that the constitution already prohibits an income tax. But the state attorney general issued an opinion in 1999 saying the tax was permissible. Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, said his resolution is needed to resolve the issue.

“When I think back to that day in which the sounds of the income tax battle were horns honking, rocks being thrown through windows, passions flaring, citizens yelling,” Kelsey told the Senate. “Those are the sounds of an income tax battle. If you would like to leave the door open for another income tax battle, then vote no. if you want to close the door once and for all on the income tax in Tennessee, I urge you to vote yes.”

Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, said Tennessee can attract new businesses by prohibiting the income tax and shrinking state government.

“When we reduce the size of state government, then there is no need for a state income tax. We will continue to be a good shining star on the hill,” Ketron said. “Other people from California, from Florida and from now Illinois are wanting to come here. The quality of life is good here and we don’t have a state income tax.”

The Senate adopted the resolution last year by a vote of 25-7, but it stalled in a House subcommittee. With Republicans in firm control of the House this year, the resolution is seen as certain to pass. A majority of both the House and Senate signed up as sponsors.

12 Comments on this post:

By: gdiafante on 3/9/11 at 10:09

Whew...I'm so glad that they are working on job creation...


By: JeffF on 3/9/11 at 10:35

Judging by all the headquarters relocations in the last decades that was a huge job creator. Absolutely gets the punitive income tax off the table in this state and leaves the door open for high-income jobs and high-income people. Unless you foolishly think that it is the poor who drive the economy and hire people then this is a win.

The train is moving people and the backwards Naifeh, Rochelle, and Wilder days are finally gone and their few remaining supporters are putting on the tin foil hats and casting aspersions on their former Tennesseans who have overthrown the century long political machine.\

The future is bright in this state.

By: Kosh III on 3/9/11 at 10:53

"Judging by all the headquarters relocations in the last decades that was a huge job creator. "

Is that why dozens of counties have unemployment rates up to 20% or even more?

Doing Nothing

Thank you GOP

By: gdiafante on 3/9/11 at 11:06

Jeff, that's hilarious.

The state has to bribe corporations to relocate here with tax cuts, but they were worried about a non-existent income tax...

Yes the future is bright for Tennessee...a state government that is preoccupied with retribution against the teacher union rather than creating jobs...resolutions that would create Tennessee's own currency...

By: JeffF on 3/9/11 at 12:48

I don't hear laughing, just the cringing of people who justifiably lost the control over the government they once controlled. If you are worried about the people in other states, please take note that a good portion of the states here in the middle are doing the same things we are. Any people who are laughing live in the pseudo-intellectual centers many of you in the minority tend to adore. A map of these centers lines up pretty closely to a map of the blighted and shrinking areas from the last two or three censuses.

Face it, a majority of people may be laughing, but they are not laughing at the people doing the same things they are doing. They are laughing at things like 14 senators feeling a state then asking for a meeting and negotiation with their cohorts and governor. They are laughing at videos of NPR executives expressing their true feelings about the people who just overthrew their friends. They are laughing at the building of tourism facilities while the schools continue to fail.

Remember there are bunches of states looking at ending union rights for public employees. How many states are trying to do the reverse? Zero.

Crawl back into your societal hole of shame and self loathing. The rest of us, we are okay with THIS change. This one actually makes sense instead of just making us feel good.

By: gdiafante on 3/9/11 at 2:21

So you're defending the unconstitutional proposition that a state can create its own currency. I'm not laughing at that, it's actually sad, pathetic and quite ignorant.

"Remember there are bunches of states looking at ending union rights for public employees. How many states are trying to do the reverse? Zero"

Maybe you should pay attention to what's happening in Wisconsin.

"They are laughing at the building of tourism facilities while the schools continue to fail."

And your answer: ban collective bargaining for teachers. How exactly does this improve schools? Teacher salaries are already the bottom of the barrel, are you asserting that suddenly all these people who can make more money in the private sector will suddenly flock to teaching positions because the union is no more? You may be delusional as well as ignorant.

"Crawl back into your societal hole of shame and self loathing. The rest of us, we are okay with THIS change."

Yeah, ok. Are you twelve?

By: spooky24 on 3/9/11 at 2:39

I remember when their hero was saying 'elections have consequences' and 'people have spoken through the election process' and 'deal with it'. Now that the situation has reversed itself and they are on the back end they are crying-my advice is Deal with it.
I think many of these crybabies don't seem to understand that this is a consorted effort to break the base of the democratic party. Never before has a opportunity like this been wide open on a national, state and local level. It is no secret that democrats must distance themselves from a fledgling president who without media bias along with never ending phony polls and statistics or be out of a job. By crushing the base of major funding areas such as unions on a national level it weakens the party by depleting the lifeblood-money.
The decision to ship in so many paid protesters,and pay their way with union funds, to Wisconsin is looking like a very bad strategical decision. As part of the plan states will line up to bring the same bills for vote-and the money pot to pay protesters is running on empty. This in turn will force unions to ramp up funding by raising dues.
With an incompetent president dragging them down and major funding issues on the national level this is an opportunity for the GOP to make even more gains than the last election.
That is just politics so again --Deal With It-or to quote an old one-Move On


By: AmyLiorate on 3/9/11 at 3:50

Tennessee has attracted a LOT of jobs, in part due to our low tax status which includes a lack of taxing you before you can spend some of the money that you have earned.

Also, due to not caving into the forces desiring to take your money, the state of Tennessee has weathered the recession better than many other states. Those states see their income tax revenues go down at a time when their state is pressed with people asking more of it.

This bill is an effort to keep a good thing going. But yes, it would be good to move on to some serious work there in the state house and then send all the legislators home.

By: JeffF on 3/9/11 at 4:14

One rep with a crazy idea does not make legislation and does not bring derision. I suggest you stop getting your political prospective from Pith in the Wind and start seeing this system from a holistic perspective. Sitting around with your small niche of like-minded hurling witty little "ignorance barbs" at the majority of your state's residents and elected representatives will not put your out-of-touch-with-reality people back into office any quicker.

Have you not learned anything from the shooting in Arizona in regards to civility toward those you disagree with? There is a smirk on my face when I typed that last sentence. Tennessee's ignorant population was easier to accept when they were under the thumb of people who saw things the way you do? There is a whole world of happy well accepted people out here living their lives in a way you hate. Does that not sicken you gdiafante?

Elections have consequences. Sometimes we just do not like those consequences. Other time you have what happened in the 90s when the Republicans did not take their new advantage to heart. Wonderfully, that has changed and the Tea Party is the reason.

Good luck electing a Democrat in state wide office while being insulting toward backwards Tennesseans.

By: pswindle on 3/10/11 at 10:01

Let give the state to the tax free businesses because they are creating so many jobs. Let take all taxes off the board and see where this gets us. We do not have enough funds now to run TN. The GOP does not the Federal Government in their lives, but they beg and beg for more federal funds. leave my rights alone, and that includes sthe Unions. Without Unions, we would be working like the people in China are working: long hours, low pay and no vacations with pay. You had better know what you are doing before you keep Unions out of your life. If the Unions disappear, the busiesses that are paying failrly well without Union representations, well all that will all disappear because there is no one watching. The competitiion will be gone. They will hire and work the person to death with low pay. An the worker will do it to be able to survive. Ir is happening right now, If a person quits his or her job, the work is just given to the remaining workers. Wake up TN and Americca.

By: localboy on 3/10/11 at 10:40

good post gdiafante

By: trtay2004 on 3/11/11 at 12:59

Now that this issue is behind us.... let's finish the GOP specific party issues and get to work guys. Enough is enough.