Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Fix the Tax System in Tennessee

A recent comment reminded about a newspaper story that focused on how bad and immoral Tennessee’s tax system is.

Did you know?

* Tennessee has the nation’s highest average sales tax at nearly 10%.
* Tennessee is one of only a handful of states that still tax groceries.
* Tennessee has more border states than any other state in the nation.
* Over half of Tennessee residents live in counties bordering another state.
* Every single state bordering Tennessee has a lower sales tax.
* Every day people drive across the border or go on-line to avoid the sales tax.
* Tennessee’s high sales tax costs the state tens-of-thousands of jobs.

The system is broken and we need people to step up and fix it. Way too many of our legislators, like Hilly boy [who makes an estimated $80k a year], are the wealthy people intent on making sure that low-income families pay over three-times the taxes as a portion of income than the rich.

Without real tax reform Tennessee will continue to see:

*double-digit tuition hikes at our state universities
*local tax increases as cities and counties struggle to make up for the loss of state funds
*dismal graduation rates and underfunded schools
*people dying because of unnecessary heath care cuts
*talk about a pre-K program with only token funding to make it a reality

Let me propose some "third alternatives" toward both taxation and revenue allocation in order to drop the almost 10% state and local sales rate that was approved by the vote of many Northeast Tennessee members of the Tennessee General Assembly:

1) How about having the Tennessee General Assembly remove Tennessee sales tax exemptions for advertising and newspaper sales across the Volunteer State. A state sales tax on newspaper and advertising sales would be easily collected by businesses and determined by state audit collections.

If a politican can afford to purchase campaign advertising, then he (or she) can certainly afford to pay the Tennessee state sales tax on purchased political advertising;

Make Rep. Matthew Hill and Rep. Jason Mumpower start collecting sales taxs on the advertising and promotional products that they sell, along with filing and maintain sales tax reports;

2) change existing to allow local and state government to post any public notice at a central internet web site instead of paying out tax dollars simply to have newspaper publishers rake in that money;

3) place some reasonable limits on the amount of property or sales transactions that non-profits can claim to be "sales tax exempt";

4) remove the "Greenbelt Property" tax exemption that allows real estate speculatorl to shield most of the market value of their real estate from taxation.
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