Gov. Haslam's Revenue Modernization Act draws praise, study

Gov. BIll Haslam, left, leads a discussion at Tennessee's Education Summit Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. Representatives of local governments, school systems and businesses are taking part in the summit, along with state senators and representatives. At right is Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

NASHVILLE -- Republican state Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey said Tuesday he's willing to give a fair hearing to Gov. Bill Haslam's proposed "Revenue Modernization Act," which the Republican governor says is necessary to address inequities between in-state and out-of-state businesses on some taxes.

"If it's about leveling the playing field and it'll make sure that out-of-state businesses are paying what they're supposed to be paying now, I'm all for it. But," Ramsey emphasized, "I've not seen any details."

Haslam pitched the proposal to the General Assembly Monday night in his State of the State address. He said it stemmed from his administration's examination of why last year's business tax collections fell off a cliff last year. That forced the governor to make huge spending cuts and cancel planned pay raises for teachers and state employees.