Signaling this would become a banner year for tax reform, Tennessee House of Representatives legislators early in the recently completed legislative session took the first step on an important measure to ban any income tax from ever being implemented on Tennesseans.
Lawmakers took a strong stand on behalf of taxpayers to ensure Tennesseans will never have to face a tax on the money they work so hard to earn. Lawmakers overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment, Senate Joint Resolution 221, to permanently place language in the Tennessee Constitution banning the implementation of an income tax. The amendment now must pass the next General Assembly by a two-thirds vote before being placed on the 2014 election general election ballot.
America was built on the notion of self-reliance. Our tax code should reflect that principle and provide greater flexibility for taxpayers. Countless studies have shown income taxes are hurtful to State economies and harmful to the financial well-being of taxpayers while a sales tax allows taxpayers to be in charge of their resources. With this vote, we are fulfilling our promise to Tennesseans that we will protect them from wasteful spending and government actions that hurt job creation in the private sector.
In passing SJR 221, the Majority painted a strong contrast between how government operates in Tennessee and the dysfunctional ways of the federal government in Washington.
SJR 221 removes all doubt about whether Tennesseans should have an onerous income tax levied against them. Clearly, we hear what the voters are telling us. I would hope Washington would do the same and get the federal government out of the way of America’s job creators.
House majority passes
key economic proposals
via FastTrack grants
The House of Representatives unanimously passed a key piece of the Majority’s economic agenda that would help economically distressed parts of Tennessee.
House Bill 2344, successfully guided through the legislative process by Rep. Tim Wirgau, R-Buchanan, was approved by a 96-0 vote.
The bill repurposes the FastTrack economic development program which provides grants and loans to local governments or to their economic development organizations, to be used to facilitate pro-job growth activities. In passing the bill, it is the intent of the General Assembly that these economic development funds will only be used in exceptional circumstances when the funds will make a significant economic impact on the affected community.
This bill helps Tennessee job creators, especially in those areas that have been hardest hit during the recession. By maintaining strong transparency requirements and oversight of this program, Tennesseans can have confidence we are expanding the mission of a program that has provided real job and economic growth results. Tennesseans want more career opportunities and I believe this program will help our business leaders and entrepreneurs deliver just that.
For additional information about HB 2344, click here.
Small Business Incentives
Act moves through
the state House
The House of Representatives moved legislation to provide small business entrepreneurs with a “one stop opportunity” web page to help incentivize and encourage small business activity throughout Tennessee. Countless studies have shown small businesses are the backbone of Tennessee’s economy. Members of the House Majority have consistently proven they are committed to removing regulatory roadblocks and refashioning government to be a resource for job creators in Tennessee. This legislation provided more evidence of this long-standing commitment.
Under House Bill 2612, the General Assembly directs the Department of Economic and Community Development, in conjunction with the Office of the Comptroller’s Small Business Advocate, to develop a web page to aid job creators desiring to form a small business in obtaining information concerning state laws, regulations, and requirements that apply to the specific type of small business the user desires to form. The web page must contain hyperlinks to relevant laws, regulations, and requirements.
In an effort to codify the agreement reached last year between Gov. Haslam and officials from Amazon.com Inc., Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland, moved legislation through the House that will help Tennessee develop and maintain 3,500 jobs in the state.
HB 2370 establishes requirements for determining whether certain business affiliates have a physical presence in this state sufficient to establish nexus for sales and use tax purposes. Nexus is a legal term referring to connection or jurisdiction within a state.
In the case of Amazon, this legislation will ensure the online retail giant will pay Tennessee sales taxes if a national online sales tax law is not passed by the federal government by 2014. Under the bill, the new Amazon fulfillment centers located across the state will meet the requirement for establishing nexus in Tennessee, ensuring fairness across the board.
Simply put, this is a jobs bill for Tennessee. It ensures a partner like Amazon and similar companies will participate in our system and it keeps all businesses on a level playing field. Most importantly, it ensures 3,500 positions are going to be created and remain here in Tennessee.