First TFT Event of 2003 ROCKS!
Release of ITEP Report Supports TFT Message
. . . . . . . . January 7, 2003
"I've been to a lot of TFT press conferences and this was the best one yet," stated Phil Schoggen, TFT member from Middle Tennessee. Phil's comment sums up the success of ALL SIX news conferences that were held across the state to release the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy's Who Pays? A Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems in All 50 States.
Large TFT member turnout, sharp member spokespeople, a comprehensive study that supports the need for tax relief and reform, and attentive media were key ingredients that created solid events in Chattanooga, Jackson, Kingsport, Knoxville, Memphis, and Nashville on January 7.
Media coverage of these TFT events was GREAT!
- Two TV stations attended the Memphis press conference.
- One TV station and the Jackson Sun attended the Jackson press event.
- Four TV stations, the Memphis Commercial Appeal, the Tennessean, the Knoxville News-Sentinel, the City Paper, WPLN, and the Tenn. Radio Network attended the Nashville event.
- Three TV stations and the Chattanooga Times-Free Press attended the Chattanooga event.
- One TV station, the Knoxville News-Sentinel, the Journal, the Mountain Press, the Associated Press, and WNOX attended the Knoxville press event.
- Two TV station and the Kingsport Times attended the Tri-Cities press event.
The headline from the Kingsport Times said it all . . . "Report slams Tennessee tax structure."
Media across the state echoed similar messages thanks to a stellar TFT cast who aptly fielded tough questions from intent reporters. TFT relentlessly drove home the fact that ITEP's report supported what we've been saying all along: our tax system is fundamentally unfair. The evidence from the study was strong, showing that low-income families pay 3.5 times and middle-income families pay 2.5 times the taxes as high-income folks in Tennessee.
Reporters sought to thoroughly understand the ITEP findings by studying the ITEP report and the TFT statement and by asking probing questions at the news conferences. Some even contacted both TFT and ITEP representatives after the event - in some cases right up until their deadline - to get it right. It was time well spent as both print and broadcast outlets provided in-depth coverage, sharing vital, complex information in terms that most Tennesseans could understand.
One of the TV reporters in Nashville, like many of us, had a hard time grasping the concept of "regressivity." Long-time TFT members Don Peterson and Tom Dernburg gave an impromptu economics lesson to the reporter as the event in Nashville was wrapping up. It sure paid off! The reporter used an analogy in his report that anyone who goes to the grocery store could relate to:
"lower income families here get hit harder as a percentage of income when it comes to taxes . . . A pound of beef is going to cost you the same in Belle Meade as it does on Charlotte Avenue. But the tax you pay will be a bigger chunk of the family income on Charlotte. It is called a regressive tax, and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy says Tennessee is third worst in the country."
TV news that informs and educates! - Thanks to TFT members' commitment to getting out the facts about the need for fair, progressive taxation in Tennessee.
Read TFT's statement about the ITEP report
Read the full ITEP Report at www.itepnet.org/whopays2k.htm
Links to other TV and newspaper articles: