Kelsey, Casada File Constitutional Amendment To Ban State Income Tax

Thursday, November 08, 2012

State Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) filed a constitutional amendment Wednesday to permanently ban an income tax in Tennessee.  The “No State Income Tax Amendment,” or Senate Joint Resolution 1, would allow Tennesseans to vote in 2014 to clarify the state constitutional prohibition on a personal income tax. 

Tennessee voters overwhelmingly elected state legislators Tuesday who oppose an income tax,” said Senator Kelsey.

  “In these difficult economic times, the last thing Tennesseans need to be worrying about is having to pay a state income tax. This amendment will put the issue to rest once and for all.”

Senator Kelsey announced Wednesday that he has also filed a separate state constitutional amendment that would change the way state appellate judges are chosen to mirror the Founding Fathers plan in the U.S. Constitution.  Senate Joint Resolution 2, called the Founding Fathers Plan Plus, calls for appointment of state appellate judges in a manner similar to the federal model by allowing the Tennessee governor to appoint judges subject to confirmation by the General Assembly. That amendment passed the House and Senate by two-thirds majorities last year.   

The “No State Income Tax” Amendment also begins step two of a three-step process of amending the state constitution.  Step one occurred when the resolution passed the Senate and the House with bipartisan support of over two-thirds of the members during the 2011-2012 General Assembly.  Step two will require a two-thirds vote of the Senate and House during the 2013-2014 General Assembly, which will convene January 8.  Step three is a ratification vote by the people on the November 2014 ballot.

State Representative Glen Casada (R-Franklin) is the House sponsor of the amendment: “I am optimistic that we will be able to move forward this year with the two-thirds majority needed to put this matter into the people’s hands,” he said.

The resolution specifies that the legislature as well as Tennessee counties and cities shall be prohibited from passing either an income tax or a payroll tax, which is a tax on employers that is measured by the wages they pay their workers.  The Hall income tax on dividends and interest will remain unchanged by the amendment.

Although many legal scholars argue that the state constitution already forbids an income tax, the state attorney general opined in 1999 that an income tax would be legal.  The opinion prompted elected officials to propose an income tax that failed by only five votes in the House of Representatives in 2002.  In recent years lawmakers have continued to propose bills to enact both an income tax and a payroll tax.


Arnold Gets 4 Years, 3 Months In Gun Case; Crouch To Serve 8 Years, 4 Months

A man police say has been caught with a gun several times was sentenced on Monday to serve four years and three months in federal prison. Timothy Arnold, 25, appeared before Federal Judge Sandy Mattice. Prosecutor Meredith Evans said Arnold has some violence incidents in his past, including pistol whipping one individual. Myrlene Marsa of the Federal Defender's Office said ... (click for more)

Dalton Police Department Seeks Metal Thieves

The Dalton Police Department is asking for information from the public to identify two men who stole more than $300 worth of copper wiring from a Shaw facility at 1019 Riverbend Road earlier this month. The men were recorded on surveillance, but there is a clearer surveillance picture of the white pickup truck in which they traveled. The truck is a white pickup that is missing ... (click for more)

ChattaData Is A Real Advance For The City

This past Tuesday, the city of Chattanooga's new performance management tool called ChattaData was unveiled. As the chairman of the City Council’s Budget & Finance Committee, I am excited to witness the city putting this important information online in a way that is accessible and transparent to all taxpayers. This approach shines light on how we as a city prioritize our ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: It’s ‘Hate The SEC’ Day

The boo birds came out on the fly on the ESPN website Sunday afternoon, this moments after the latest AP College Football “Top 25” included eight teams from the Southeastern Conference.   What set naysayers aglow was Mississippi State, after upsetting LSU 34-29 Saturday night, debuted on the list at No. 14 while Clemson, playing Florida State in an overtime thriller, got tossed ... (click for more)

Tennessee Gets Down To Final Preparations For Georgia

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.   – Tennessee’s first Southeastern Conference road trip to Georgia on Saturday (noon kickoff on the SEC Network) will be a homecoming for 17 Vols. That fact is not lost on those players, from freshmen wanting to make a first impression to those, like   A.J. Johnson , playing against the Bulldogs and in their home state for the final time. ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Golf Team Second At Wolf Run Intercollegiate

The Chattanooga Mocs men’s golf team is tied for second after 18 holes at the Wolf Run Intercollegiate. The Mocs and Florida Gators each shot 295 over the opening 18 to trail Illinois by 11 at 285 at Wolf Run Golf Club. The day’s docket had a scheduled 36 holes. Afternoon storms sent teams from the course prior to finishing. The remaining holes will be completed starting at 9:30 ... (click for more)