published Friday, March 11th, 2011

Ban Tennessee income tax


Tennessee fortunately has no general state income tax. We should amend our state constitution to head off any possibility that we ever will.

We say Tennessee doesn’t have a “general” income tax because, while we do not have an income tax on ordinary salaries and wages, the state unfortunately does levy a tax on income from stocks and bonds — the so-called “Hall income tax.”

But the Tennessee Senate wisely voted 28-5 on Wednesday to amend the state constitution specifically to prohibit imposing any general tax on income.

The purpose is to keep Tennessee attractive to our people and to businesses that are here, and to others proposing to locate here, thus creating more Tennessee jobs.

If the state House of Representatives agrees with the Senate — as it should promptly — the proposed ban would also need to pass both houses by a two-thirds vote in the next legislative session, starting in 2013. If it passes then, it would go on a statewide ballot in 2014. If it gets that far, a general income tax prohibition should be overwhelmingly approved by Tennessee voters.

“I think we have a lot of support in the House,” said Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, who sponsored the legislation.

Despite multiple state Supreme Court rulings that a general income tax is constitutionally impermissible in Tennessee, the stated goal of the proposed amendment is to “clarify the language by which the Constitution of Tennessee” now forbids such a tax. The idea is to head off any possible “confusion” by which lawmakers might seek to impose the tax — as some have tried to do in the past.

All of us are subject to U.S. income tax law. But Tennesseans should be eager to prohibit a general Tennessee income tax. The House should follow the Senate’s approval of the proposed ban, both houses should again approve the ban in 2013, and voters should readily approve the general income tax prohibition in 2014.

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EaTn said...

Of course Tennessee should be eager to avoid an income tax, but pass a law prohibiting it? Many residents are withing easy driving to shop at adjacent states with less sales tax and Internet shopping with no sales is becoming easier and more popular. Only a fool state would tie it's hands with these uncertainties.

March 11, 2011 at 7:28 a.m.
Francis said...

as well they should given that the income tax is immoral and is in direct conflict with the principles of our founding. the constitution was written to limit what the government can do to us. we're getting further and further away from that principle. democrats, especially obama, believe the constitution should be more the other way.....typical socialist bull****

you libs are a have no problem with an unconstitutional mandate forcing, forcing someone to purchase a commodity, heatlh insurance......make it a law..but you'll have all kind of problems with a law that bans a state income don't appreciate freedom..

states without state income tax are losing population, those without it are gaining. we don't exist to support the federal government or state government.....that shouldn't be the primary thing on our minds when we get up in the morning. governments are necessary, of course, for essential services..nothing more. we shouldn't be taxed so state employees can have fat guarantees the rest of their lives.

March 11, 2011 at 7:55 a.m.
EaTn said...

Francis-- I guess you think it's American to let someone else pay for the the highways, clean water, policemen, firemen, etc that you conservatives seem to think are free. The hypocrisy of conservatives are a joke.

March 11, 2011 at 8:27 a.m.
EaTn said...

I'm amazed that some think that sales tax is ok and constitutional but income tax is unconstitutional and bad---tax in any form is a tax period, whether you pay it at Walmart or payroll deduction. And as for federal taxes, it's the lowest points that it's been for years, which is not necessarily a good thing.

March 11, 2011 at 12:16 p.m.
LibDem said...

This is so obvious. The current Legislature is the smartest one we will ever have. The people of Tennessee can't be trusted. They might elect a future Legislature that would do something the current Legislature doesn't like. Better get things nailed down while the smart ones are in control.

March 11, 2011 at 12:42 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

EaTn, There is a huge difference between sales taxes and income taxes. Progressives would have a hard time redistributing the income if they could not first confiscate it from those that they deemed "able". Income taxes are a critical tool of a socialist/marxist government.

It is good that Tennessee has no income tax and it would be even better if it was constitutionally prohibited.

March 11, 2011 at 1:34 p.m.
nucanuck said...


Do you think Europeans have a lower quality of life than Americans? You might want to get your reader out.

March 11, 2011 at 3:56 p.m.
EaTn said...

BigRidgePatriot said: "Income taxes are a critical tool of a socialist/marxist government". Wow, I don't think our history of fighting for the most free country in the world would point to that fact.

March 11, 2011 at 5:01 p.m.
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