House votes to place income tax ban before voters

Monday, April 8, 2013 at 7:16pm

Updated 11:20 p.m.

The House gave final approval Monday to a proposed constitutional amendment to ban a state income tax in Tennessee, which means the measure will go before the voters next year.

The chamber voted 88-8 in favor of the measure sponsored by Republican Rep. Glen Casada of Franklin..

Casada said he already believes an income tax is banned under the state constitution, but the amendment will give voters a voice on "clarifying and making it even more clear that the income tax is unconstitutional."

The vote completes a lengthy process for constitutional amendments, which must pass both chambers in consecutive General Assemblies before they can go before the voters in the same year a governor's election is held.

The measure would also ban payroll taxes by the state or local governments.

"I think taxing earned income is a terrible public policy," Casada said. "It runs off business and it's a disincentive to produce."

Supporters scrambled to sign up co-sponsors to the resolution as the clerk read the language of the proposed constitutional amendment on its last reading.

Democratic Rep. Mike Stewart of Nashville sought to remind members that the last push for a state income tax was led by then-Gov. Don Sundquist, a Republican, more than a decade ago.

"Why would we want to make this a constitutional issue instead of just allowing the elected representatives of the people (to) make this decision year after year?" asked Stewart.

In response to Stewart's questions about Sundquist, Casada answered that former House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh, D-Covington, was also a major proponent of the income tax proposals that failed for the last time in 2002.

The income tax proposals led to talk radio-fueled protests at the Capitol and included a brick being thrown through the window of the governor's office. The measure ultimately failed, and several supporters ultimately decided against running again or were defeated as part of a public backlash.

The fallout from the failed efforts contributed to the election of Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen later that year, but also accelerated Democratic losses in the Legislature that have left the party with little voice in state government.


18 Comments on this post:

By: pswindle on 4/8/13 at 8:25

Do we need a law? This bunch has gotten down right nuts. Is this the best bill that they can come up with? Have we ever had a state income tax?

By: Ask01 on 4/9/13 at 1:17

The bright side, pswindle, is at least they are willing to let voters decide something.

Too bad our politicians are too deep in liquor suppliers pockets to let us vote on wine in grocery stores.

Mayor Dean was too cowardly to put the MCC or his property extrotion, I mean tax, to the voters.

By: Rasputin72 on 4/9/13 at 3:02

The "Hall tax" is an income tax and it is onerous enough to send me to Florida for at least six months and one day. There are Tennesseans who know damn well what a state income tax is.

By: Loner on 4/9/13 at 5:55

This move to ban a state income tax is an attempt to permanently keep TN in the "Beggar State" column of American states. Most of the blue states are net "Donors States" while the red states are mostly beggar states, sucking off the federal teat....all the while denigrating the federal government and clamoring for states rights.

Tennessee's angry and defiant lawmakers want to make sure that the Volunteer State is a permanent drag on the US Treasury and the US economy...I think that Tennesseans are still mad over losing the Civil War and are trying to slowly but surely bankrupt the union of American States.

As I have said before, readmitting the breakaway Southern states into the union with their borders intact and unchanged was a terrible mistake....the entire region should have been reverted to a federally administered US Territory.....the South remains defiant, unapologetic, unreformed and obstinate....the modern-day rebels are trying to bankrupt the US's domestic terrorism....the US should pull the statehood plug on any state that tries to pull this gotta pay, if you want to play....or you are out of the club.

By: yogiman on 4/9/13 at 5:58

I see no mention of lowering or eliminating our state sales tax. Will an added income tax simply mean more money for the legislature to spend... as their choice?

By: yogiman on 4/9/13 at 6:03

Rep. Casada mentioned he already believes an income tax is banned under the state constitution. As a member of the House, hasn't he ever read the Constitution?

By: Loner on 4/9/13 at 6:05

Read the article...dumbazz.

By: Loner on 4/9/13 at 6:11

A Constitutional amendment banning a state income tax is the surest way to insure that Tennessee's public schools remain at or near the bottom of the pile...a dumbed-down electorate is a dirty politician's dream....that's how aristocracies manage to pull it off...they keep the masses in a state of docile ignorance....a little bread & circus and they behave like's an old...old....trick....but it still works in TN....and that is by design, not chance.

By: yogiman on 4/9/13 at 6:12

I hate to tell you this, Loner, but your man Barry has taken our nation into bankruptcy more than all official presidents [combined] before him.

Haven't you ever wondered why? Why does his family spend so much more of OUR money on vacations knowing we are going broke?

By: yogiman on 4/9/13 at 6:14

What does it say, Loner? I'm sure you've read it; please explain it to me.

By: Loner on 4/9/13 at 6:14

TN does not need any state or local payroll taxes and it does not need a state income tax...the US federal government will come in and pick up the slack for the slackers....this is grand larceny.

By: Loner on 4/9/13 at 6:15

Yogi...go play in traffic...shoo!

By: Loner on 4/9/13 at 6:20

A black family in the White House is more than Yogi can stand...his coonskin cap is all ruffled...his white sheet and hood are hanging in the closet, ready to go...and this guy was a prison guard? Maybe one of his victims will discover his presence here and take appropriate action...that would be Karmic justice, IMO....what goes around comes around.

By: Loner on 4/9/13 at 6:24

Bill Haslam will have to journey to Washington, tin cup in hand, to beg Obama for a handout for his tax-free's grand theater, Southern-style....I say, let them eat cake.

By: govskeptic on 4/9/13 at 7:02

The highest paid professionals of our state need your support on this bill,
therefore I'm against it. Those supporting this bill wouldn't care if the sales tax
on food or your auto license plate fees were doubled or tripled just as long
as you don't touch their $500,000 to million dollar annual incomes.

On the other side, my conservative instincts tell me truthfully: They can never
get enough. If they took 10% this year, they would request 12% the next.

By: yogiman on 4/9/13 at 3:35

If it is put to the public as an amendment to our constitution, I can't see the public accepting it. Who want's to pay more?

By: Loner on 4/10/13 at 6:26

This topic was discussed here, at the NCP Up For Debate site, yesterday:

The entire comment board was wiped....that's something unprecedented at this site....somebody's feathers must have been ruffled......somebody knuckled under?

Webmaster....please explain....thank you.

By: Loner on 4/10/13 at 11:56

No explanation?

We can assume that somebody got so angry at something posted on that board that the entire comment board was ordered to be deleted and the submission window itself was removed.

The question is, who has that kind of power? Somebody struck a raw nerve.....Mister Big became infuriated? Can we expect this sort of full-board wipe and purge from now on?

Maybe it was just an innocent mistake? Maybe an NCP intern inadvertently deleted the whole board? Nah....this smells like a fear-based mass deletion.

Webmaster....disabuse me of any false assumptions....thanks.