Legislation could cost county $800,000

BRIAN GRAVES Banner Staff Writer
Posted 4/26/16

Bradley County stands to lose approximately $800,000 in state funds should Gov. Bill Haslam not veto the state legislation that will phase out the state’s Hall income tax.

The Hall income …

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Legislation could cost county $800,000

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Bradley County stands to lose approximately $800,000 in state funds should Gov. Bill Haslam not veto the state legislation that will phase out the state’s Hall income tax.

The Hall income tax is a Tennessee state tax on interest and dividend income from investments. It is the only tax on personal income in Tennessee.

State Rep. Dan Howell relayed the information to the Bradley County Commission during its work session Monday night.

Howell said the tax was reduced last session from 6 to 5 percent.

The way the bill is now shaped, the tax would be phased out over a five-year period, at 1 percent a year from its current level of 5 percent.

Howell’s information came after a question about the tax moves by Commissioner Dan Rawls.

“There is one school of thought the governor is going to veto that. We’ll just have to wait and see,” Howell said. “If he vetoes it, there’s nothing we can do because we’re out of session and can’t override it.”

Howell said Bradley County currently gets around $800,000 per year from the tax.

“In the first year, the reduction would be $136,000,” he said.

“So, eventually we’re going to be in that situation,” Rawls said.

“It’s going to take some good financial management,” Howell replied. “But, I can tell you there is just no stomach in Nashville for keeping the Hall tax. It’s just not there. It’s eventually going to go away.”

Howell said the governor has “sent some signals he’s going to take a long hard look at maybe vetoing that.”

“He’s not opposed to getting rid of the Hall tax, but he doesn’t want to set hard deadlines to do it,” Howell said. “I think he would rather do it over a period of 8 to 10 years. We’ll just have to wait and see who has the votes to get it done.”

The city of Cleveland averages $1 million in revenue from the Hall income tax. City finance director Shawn Mckay said the city has $1.2 million budgeted for revenue from the tax in next year’s budget.

On the positive side, Howell reported the county would get $705,639 in road state aid funds.

The extra money comes after the state Legislature voted to take some of the state’s $1 billion surplus and augment county and municipality highway departments.

Commissioners also honored by resolution the wrestlers from Bradley Central and Walker Valley High Schools who brought back state championships.

Chairman Louie Alford noted this was the 24th state championship for the Bradley Bears wrestling team.

Joe Munoz was honored for bringing home an individual state championship for the Mustangs.

“Any team wanting to win a state championship must come through Bradley County and Cleveland first,” Alford read from the resolution.

He also noted the award for Munoz and said that accomplishment shows “we no longer just have two great wrestling programs in Bradley County. We have three.”

“It’s just going to get tougher and tougher out there for everybody coming through Bradley County,” Alford said.

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