The state House of Representatives today overwhelmingly approved the repeal of the "death tax" and the reduction of the food tax on two separate votes.
Both bills have long been a major priority for many Members of the House Republican Caucus who believe the bills will help taxpayers keep more of their hard-earned money and place Tennessee on better economic footing, a spokesman for House Republicans said.
“This is a landmark moment for Tennesseans,” stated House Speaker Beth Harwell (R—Nashville).
“We believe, when government revenues are higher, that money doesn’t belong to the State but to taxpayers and should be returned to them immediately. Our Republican Majority was placed here to balance the budget, cut wasteful spending, and lower taxes. Today we carried through on that promise.”
Rep. Charles Sargent (R-Franklin), who guided the death tax repeal to full House passage, remarked, “Today is an exciting day. We looked at the numbers, rolled our sleeves up, and worked with Governor Haslam to come up with two bills that will really benefit all Tennesseans. The repeal of the death tax is especially noteworthy because it will help convince the job creators in our State to remain here and help grow our economy. This doesn’t benefit one group; it benefits any Tennessean who is concerned about job growth.”
House Bill 3760, the death tax repeal, phases out the death tax over the next four years, to a complete repeal by 2016. House Bill 3761, the food tax cut, lowers the sales tax rate on food from the current 5.5 percent to 5.25 percent, the steepest reduction in many years.
The food tax cut was the responsibility of Rep. David Alexander (R-Winchester). Following the final vote on the bill he stated, “This wasn’t a partisan move, it was a move to help every Tennessean. The governor asked to work with us on lowering the food tax and this is the product of that hard work. It’s something we all can be proud of.”
House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga) added, “It has long been a principle that Republicans believe limited government is best. You do that by cutting taxes and ensuring Tennesseans keep more of the money they earn. In turn they will invest that money, the economy will grow, and new career opportunities will emerge.”
Rep. Kevin Brooks said, “Today is an exciting day. We looked at the numbers, rolled our sleeves up, and worked with Governor Haslam to come up with two bills that will really benefit all Tennesseans. The repeal of the death tax is especially noteworthy because it will help convince the job creators in our State to remain here and help grow our economy. This doesn’t benefit one group; it benefits any Tennessean who is concerned about job growth.”
“I know how much the death tax hurts our families,” added Rep. Eric Watson (R-Cleveland). “The repeal of the death tax will benefit those of us who are committed to protecting the unique small business and farming heritage of Tennessee. Additionally, the food tax cut is a move consistent with my principles to reduce wasteful government spending and return that money to the people.”
“These tax cuts are proof of our motto: It matters who governs,” said Rep. Debra Maggart (R-Hendersonville) who serves as the Republican Caucus Chairwoman. “A recent study shows a repeal of the death tax ten years ago would have grown our economy an additional 14 percent. While the previous generation of leadership failed to take action, this generation of Republican leadership is committed to charting a new path that creates jobs and limits government.”
The bills are now sent to the Senate for action, which is expected to come in the next week.