Statement by John G. Stewart, Chair, Tennesseans for Fair Taxation, on the Tax Foundation’s Report on State Tax Rates, Aug. 23, 2010:
The Tax Foundation is correct in pointing out that Tennessee has the highest combined state and average local sales tax rate in the country. This means that lower income families pay a far higher percentage of their income to the state than do higher income families—about 12% for lower income families compared to about 3% for higher income families. This is grossly unfair and destructive to most Tennessee families.
What can we do about it? Tennesseans for Fair Taxation has for many years advocated cutting our sales tax in half and eliminating the food tax entirely. We also propose enacting an income tax with generous exemptions, such that a family of four earning $45,000 would be totally exempt. This approach evens out the tax burden for all Tennesseans, plus it gives about 70% of Tennesseans a tax cut from what they are currently paying to the state.
Our approach would also generate about $1 billion of additional revenue so that crippling budget cuts in education, economic development, public safety, child support, and environment can be avoided.
If ever there was a win—win—win proposal, this is it.
“Washington, DC, August 19, 2010 – Tennessee has the highest combined state and average local sales tax rate of 9.44%, and the Alabama cities of Birmingham and Montgomery are tied for the highest combined state, county and city sales tax rates among major metropolitan areas at 10%, according to two new Tax Foundation reports on state and local sales taxes.”