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Senate Dems: Stop ‘Massive Over-Collection of Taxes’ in TN

Press release from the Tennessee Senate Democratic Caucus; July 12, 2012: 

NASHVILLE –Senate Democrats are calling on state lawmakers from both parties to come together and stop the massive over-collection of taxes from Tennesseans.

The state collected an excess of $338 million in tax revenues that it isn’t spending for the fiscal year that ended June 30, according to the Tennessee Department of Revenue.

“This is your government, collecting more of your money than it can spend,” Senate Democratic Leader Jim Kyle said. “We have heard a lot of talk about tax relief, and now it’s time for them to deliver.”

In June alone, the state collected more than $21 million in excess sales taxes on food and other essentials.

“Higher sales tax collections are a sign that our economy is improving, but many people are still struggling,” said Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman Lowe Finney. “By providing tax relief, we can ensure everyone shares in Tennessee’s success, not just our wealthiest citizens.”

Last month, the Senate Democrats called for these increasing revenues to be put towards a further reduction of the sales tax on groceries, and a tuition freeze for the state’s higher education systems.

“Now is not the time to increase the tax on higher education,” said Kyle, “There is no reason that college students should be paying for cost increases when their government is sitting on millions of their tax dollars. We can help them and provide for an additional 1% off the food tax with these excess revenues.”

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Democrats, Haslam Push Tax-Relief Extension for Flood Victims

Press Release from the Senate Democratic Caucus, Feb. 15, 2011:

Bill would extend previous sales tax break to April 30

NASHVILLE – Senate Democrats were joined by Governor Bill Haslam on Tuesday in recommending that tax relief for May 2010 flood victims be extended through the end of April.

“Many of our hardest-hit constituents were still rebuilding and repairing their houses by the time the original tax break ended,” said Senator Douglas Henry (D-Nashville), the lead sponsor of the extension. “This extension gives them the chance to turn their houses into their homes again.”

Senate Bill 6 would exempt flood victims registered with FEMA from sales tax on home appliances, building materials and large furniture items, up to a cap of $2,500. That tax cap would cover roughly $27,000 of purchases. Those who have already taken advantage of the tax relief would still be eligible, as long as they have not hit the cap.

The May 2010 floods ravaged Middle and West Tennessee, killing 26 people and causing more than $2 billion in damage in the Nashville area alone. Cleanup efforts are still ongoing in some communities.

“Less than a year ago, much of our state was underwater,” said Caucus Chairman Lowe Finney (D-Jackson), the bill’s cosponsor. “We haven’t forgotten that our neighbors are still recovering and still need our help.”

The bill passed unanimously through the Tax Subcommittee of the Senate Finance, Ways & Means Committee on Tuesday with the governor’s recommendation. Two similar bills also passed, but bill sponsors said they would likely support Senate Bill 6, pending action in the House. The House version of the bill is in a subcommittee.

Senator Douglas Henry represents portions of Davidson County. Senator Lowe Finney represents Madison, Carroll and Gibson Counties.