House calls for increased tax relief for seniors
Mar 09, 2014 | 876 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
House lawmakers joined with various tax reform groups last week, including the Beacon Center of Tennessee and Americans for Prosperity, to voice support for legislation which will phase out the state’s Hall Income Tax.

The Hall Income Tax imposes a levy on income derived from stocks and bonds. Numerous studies show the tax has its most negative impact on seniors and entrepreneurs, as both groups rely more heavily on this type of income than others. In addition, critics argue the “secret” income tax drives new capital investments away from Tennessee and sends the wrong message to older folks looking to retire to Tennessee from another state.

The legislation supported by House lawmakers will phase out the state portion of the Hall tax over a period of six years. The measure also includes provisions to ensure the phaseout is done in a fiscally responsible manner.

The legislation will be heard by the House and Senate in the coming weeks.

Amelia’s Law

overwhelmingly passes

House of Representatives

Legislation supported by House lawmakers calling for stricter rules for repeat drug and alcohol offenders was overwhelmingly approved last week in the Tennessee House of Representatives.

As passed, House Bill 1759 — also known as “Amelia’s Law” — allows judges to require criminal offenders to wear a "transdermal monitoring device" if alcohol or drugs were contributing factors in their crime. It is a device that can track alcohol or drug levels through a person's skin.

The legislation is named after Amelia Keown, who died in a head-on collision on U.S. Highway 411 near Maryville in 2012, while on her way home to pick up pompoms for dance practice. She was 16 years old.

Records show the man who hit Amelia was out on parole and had a criminal record dating back to 1998. His sheet included aggravated robbery, multiple drugs offenses, fleeing and evading police, along with other charges. In addition, a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation toxicology report showed the offender had methamphetamine and oxycodone in his system at the time of the accident.

The House unanimously passed the proposal, 92-0.

‘Stop ObamaCare Act’

headed to governor’s

desk for signature

The “Stop ObamaCare Act” has officially passed the full House of Representatives and is headed to Gov. Bill Haslam to be signed into law.

As passed, the bill prohibits Medicaid expansion as mandated by ObamaCare unless first authorized by the Tennessee General Assembly. The United States Supreme Court ruled the mandatory expansion of Medicaid in the states as unconstitutional last year.

In addition to the current debate over Medicaid expansion, the bill also provides that any future expansion proposal must go through the regular legislative process and cannot be placed into the state budget, protecting taxpayer dollars even further.

Projections show expansion of Medicaid in Tennessee would cost taxpayers an extra $250 million a year, an amount of money the state simply does not have.

Bill to aid charitable

organizations slated

for full House hearing

Legislation aimed at reducing the fees owed by charitable organizations in the state moved out of the House Calendar and Rules Committee last Thursday and is scheduled to be heard by the full House later this week.

As drafted, the bill would cut fees owed by nonprofit and other charitable organizations across the board by 20 percent. For a charity raising between $30,000 and $48,999.99 per year, the new annual fee would be only $80. At the top end of the scale, a charity raising $500,000 or more would pay $240 per year.

The bill also reduces the annual registration fees for professional solicitors from $800 to $250 and for fundraising counsels from $250 to $100. The changes would affect about 8,100 organizations and individuals who must currently register with the state.


(Editor’s Note: This legislative summary has been submitted jointly by state Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland who represents the 24th Legislative District, and state Rep. Eric Watson, R-Cleveland who represents the 22nd Legislative District.)