Press Releases

Hall Income Tax Cut Gets Haslam Signature

Press release from the Office of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; May 28, 2013:

CROSSVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today held a ceremonial bill signing in Crossville for the second piece of tax cut legislation in his 2013 legislative agenda, a reduction in the Hall Income tax for senior citizens.

The bill, HB 192/SB 198, raises the exemption level of the tax to single filers 65 years old with an income of less than $33,000 and to joint filers with at least one spouse at least 65 years old with an income of less than $59,000.

Previously, single filers at least 65 years old with an income of less than $26,200 and joint filers with at least one spouse at least 65 years old with an income of less than $37,000 were exempt from the Hall Income tax.

The new legislation is effective January 1, 2013 for tax purposes.

“Tennessee is ranked No. 1 among all states by as the best state for retirement,” Haslam said. “By managing the state budget conservatively and focusing on making state government more efficient and effective, we’ve been able to cut taxes while continuing to make strategic investments and balancing the budget. I want to thank the General Assembly for passing this sensible legislation that makes Tennessee an even more attractive state to live.”

Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville), House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga) and state Rep. Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) sponsored the bill. In his first year in office, Haslam signed legislation that lifted the exemption from $16,200 to $26,200 for single filers and $27,000 to $37,000 for joint filers.

Taken together, the bills passed in 2011 and 2013 have doubled the income level at which senior citizens remain exempt from the Hall Income tax. Through two and a half years in office, Gov. Haslam has signed legislation cutting the grocery tax on food, the Hall Income tax, the inheritance tax and the gift tax.

NewsTracker Tax and Budget

New Fees Considered in Cumberland County

Better keep an eye on your pocketbooks in Cumberland County — ’cause officials there are eying them, too.

County Mayor Kenneth Carey has sent a list of a 13 revenue-boosting ideas to the county commission, including new fees on notary services, copies of police reports, land development and trash disposal, the Crossville Chronicle reports. He also floated the idea of cutting back on convenience center hours and charging a fee when the county’s extrication equipment is used at a car accident.

From the Chronicle:

Carey concludes his letter stating, “I am not advocating for or against any of these ideas, but merely providing information for you to consider that is an alternative revenue option other than property tax.” …

Commissioners agreed to bring up the discussion again in a future budget committee meeting when Mayor Carey was in attendance.

Liberty and Justice NewsTracker

33 Indicted in Rx Trafficking Bust

A massive prescription drug sting has resulted in the arrest of almost three dozen Crossville area residents, the Crossville Chronicle reports.

The search warrants, executed on Friday, resulted in the seizure of more than 1,000 pills, approximately $335,000 in cash and jewelry, 25 firearms, and more than 40 vehicles. …

All defendants are charged with participating in a drug trafficking conspiracy involving pharmaceuticals that were illegally diverted from legitimate channels of distribution, such as pharmacies and hospitals.

In March, four dozen people in Coffee County were arrested in a separate prescription drug sting, including three charged with TennCare fraud.

NewsTracker Tax and Budget

Locals Study New Taxes, Fees

Gibson County leaders want to raise the wheel tax 35 percent in a plan the mayor says will boost business relocation and the economy.

WBBJ TV Channel 7 reports that the mayor is touting the plan to increase the wheel tax from $35 to $47.50 as a way to attract jobs. The county commission is set to vote on the measure Monday.

They’re not the only local governments eyeing taxes and fees. River enthusiasts in Cheatham County, you’re the next target.

County commissioners are considering the formation of a Visitors and Recreation Bureau, which, the Ashland City Times reports, “would regulate and tax recreational businesses such as the canoe rentals in south Cheatham County. The money generated would be used to help promote tourism in the county.”

The story says that the Chamber of Commerce would pay for the bureau staff and that “there is no funding required by the commission.”

Meanwhile, a sewer district near Crossville is considering shaking up its fees, according to the Crossville Chronicle.

The Tansi Sewer Utility District is considering a fee structure of $60 monthly for service and a charge for new connections of $5,950, which could be paid over 10 years.

While locals are talking about what fees and taxes to levy next, the tax talk at the Capitol has leaned in the other direction. State senators on Wednesday approved a measure that seeks to ban any future implementation of an income tax. The proposal moves to the House, and at the earliest could be approved by voters in 2014.