Brooks, who serves as a member of the House Budget Subcommittee, praised his fellow legislators who supported House Bill 3760 in the House Finance, Ways and Means Subcommittee in action last week. It is expected to be heard in full committee in the coming weeks.
Brooks’ support for repealing the death tax law was echoed by his Bradley County colleague, state Rep. Eric Watson, R-Cleveland representing the 22nd Legislative District.
In his weekly legislative summary, Brooks called the bill that would eventually bring death to the death tax an “important” piece of legislation, one that he described as being in the “best interest” of Tennessee businesses and families who are burdened by the tax following the loss of loved ones.
“It was a privilege to vote for this measure as a member of the Budget Subcommittee,” Brooks said. “I have asked to be added as a co-prime sponsor of this important bill to kill the death tax. We have heard from Tennessee residents from across the state and here in Bradley County who asked for us to repeal this expensive tax which often hits families at a time of crisis.”
Brooks spoke of the legislative mindset of those lawmakers voting in support of the tax repeal.
“We are less-government, less-taxes conservatives,” he said. “I am thankful for our colleagues’ work and for our governor’s support.”
In his weekly “Capitol Hill Review” column published in the Cleveland Daily Banner, Watson joined Brooks in applauding the House action so far in repealing the tax law.
“Without their (House Finance, Ways and Means Subcommittee) leadership, this full repeal of the death tax would not have been possible,” Watson said. “We know this tax drives people, capital and jobs out of the state. We know this tax splits up family farms that have been in the family for generations. I commend everyone’s hard work on this very important issue.”
Watson and Brooks explained the next steps for the bill.
“The bill has been amended to now include a full repeal with the death tax phasing out gradually over the next four years,” Watson said. “By 2016, the tax will be completely eliminated.”
Local legislators pointed out Tennessee is one of only two states in the South with a death tax. If the repeal is eventually passed, and signed by Gov. Bill Haslam, the legislative action will pare down the list to only one.
“With this action, we are ensuring families and small businesses won’t be harassed by government with harmful taxes after a loved one passes,” Watson stressed. “Not only is this legislation pro-business, it is also pro-family. I will do everything that I can to help House Speaker Beth Harwell and the committee chairman get this to the governor’s desk as soon as possible.”
As a potential co-prime sponsor, Brooks made the same pledge.
Brooks and Watson said the state House considered the death tax repeal to be a “priority” in this legislative session because “... we know it will help family-owned farms and small, family-owned business operate with certainty. [We] look forward to continue moving it through the committee system.”
According to a legislative summary statement datelined out of Nashville, Harwell, a Nashville Republican, worked closely with Rep. Terry Lynn Weaver, R-Lancaster, to repeal the tax law. Weaver served as a co-sponsor of the measure.