Rep. Watson: Capital Hill Review

Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - by Rep. Eric Watson

State Legislature Faces Several Key Issues 

The second half of the 108th General Assembly is set to begin on Jan. 14, with several key issues on tap this year including taxes and jobs. With preliminary work already done on many issues facing the General Assembly, expect lawmakers to get off to a quick start for what is expected to be a short but busy legislative session. 

Tax Reduction — The governor’s budget proposal will likely fund the next phase of inheritance tax relief by raising the exemption level to $5 million in 2015.  The General Assembly approved legislation in 2012 and 2013 phasing out the “death tax” by 2016, as well as reducing the sales tax on food from 5.5 percent to 5.0.  In 2012 lawmakers eliminated Tennessee’s gift tax.  I have continually focused on putting money back into the pockets of the citizens.  As we go forward with the next phase, I will fight for the people of my district.

In addition, the legislature voted to raise the exemption level to allow more senior citizens to be exempt from the Hall Income tax in 2011 and 2013.  Since enactment of the Hall tax in 1929, the use of investment savings has grown as a primary source of retirement income.  Expect some continued Hall tax relief efforts to come before the legislature in 2014. 

Continued Focus on Job Creation is “Job One” in 2014 — Another area in which Tennessee is looking to be the fastest improving state in the nation is high quality job growth.  In addition to preparing students for the 21st century global marketplace, the legislature will continue its efforts to create a business-friendly climate which draws new and better paying jobs to the state.

I am extremely proud of the efforts that my colleagues and I have done over the past several years, with the number of initiatives that we have passed to create and grow jobs including tort reform to provide predictability to business and workers’ compensation reform to create a streamlined system for employees and employers.  In addition, the state also has one of the lowest state and local tax burdens in the U.S. 

As a result of these and other efforts, Tennessee has gained approximately 140,000 new private sector jobs since January 2011.  The state ranks first in the Southeast and 10th in the nation for personal income growth, and first in the Southeast and 5th in the nation for job growth.  Expect efforts to continue to focus on fostering entrepreneurship in Tennessee and on the growth of new and expanding businesses.


Woe To Us

Messrs. Burrage and Exum have just about said it all in their pieces this morning.  God help us all and God bless them.   I would only add my simple thoughts as I wander through my long life and experiences that justify them each morning, all day, and into the night pondering what has happened to us through those long and painful but often happy years.  And, ... (click for more)

Towers

“Yo! White boys! What do you think you’re doing?” “What you mean, man? Workin’. Layin’ block. What’s it look like we’re doin’?” responded one. “Don’t you know you’re doing work Americans won’t? You’re going to give us all a bad rap working along side the main drag like this, in broad daylight too. Boss-man around?” The Gang and I were on a road trip a while back. ... (click for more)

Ironman World Champion Wins At Chattanooga

Marino Vanhoenacker, holder of the world record Ironman time, eclipsed the field of over 2,400 athletes on a "brutally hot" day in Chattanooga on Sunday. The 40-year-old Belgian who has won 15 Ironman titles was far ahead of the rest of the pack at the finish line on Riverfront Parkway at Ross's Landing. He was over seven minutes ahead of the field and at times had even a bigger ... (click for more)

Woodbury, Tn., Man Charged With Murdering His Brother

An investigation by Special Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has resulted in the arrest of a Cannon County man for the murder of his brother.                                 ... (click for more)

No. 3 Chattanooga Rolls Past Samford, 41-21

CHATTANOOGA---The 3rd-ranked Chattanooga Mocs utilized a balanced attack in a 41-21 win over Southern Conference rival Samford Saturday afternoon. Balanced is the operative term as both sides of the ball contributed to the victory.   "Great win," coach Russ Huesman said. "We beat a good football team that has great skill kids that are hard to tackle. It was great to ... (click for more)

Vols' Astonishing Rally Wrecks Florida, 38-28, Before 102,455 Stunned Fans

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Quack. Quack. Quack. As it turns out, Teez Tabor, Florida’s trash-talking defensive back, a duck can pull a truck, sir. Tennessee’s 14 th -ranked Volunteers sent shock waves throughout the college football world Saturday, rallying from a 21-point deficit against No. 19 Florida to stun the Gators, 38-28, before a sellout crowd of 102,455 at Neyland Stadium. ... (click for more)