At a press conference on Monday, TFT issued the
A similar letter was sent to all the legislators as they move forward in the
debate about tax reform.
With last week,s Senate vote behind us, it is time to move forward
and embrace tax reform in Tennessee. The 23 to 6 vote in the Senate was
a solid confirmation that doing nothing is no longer an option. The question
now before us is what kind of tax reform will we have.
Tennesseans for Fair Taxation (TFT) applauds the Governor for
facing the challenge before us with courage and leadership. TFT also applauds
Sen. Rochelle and Sen. Elsea for their leadership in the Senate.
Over the last few weeks, the debate concerning the Governor,s
proposal has brought some new issues to light. TFT feels these issues
must be addressed to make this the best proposal for hard working families across
Tennessee. The following suggestions are offered as potential ammendments
to the current tax reform bill.
First and foremost, TFT is calling for higher per person exemptions
within the tax reform proposal. Although TFT is not attached to any specific
numbers, these exemptions should be high enough so that more than half of Tennesseans
will pay less than they do now. The simple fact is, the size of the personal
exemptions is the most important factor for insuring that working and middle-income
families see an actual reduction in taxes.
TFT understands that higher per person exemptions will need to
be offset in other parts of the proposal. The most progressive and fair
way to deal with the offsets would be through the income tax rate itself.
The sales tax on the other hand is one of the most regressive and unjust taxes
in Tennessee. TFT believes the sales tax reductions contained in the Governor,s
proposal should be preserved.
Finally, TFT reiterates its long-standing position that the elimination
of the state food tax is a non-negotiable item. The tax on food is a cruel,
immoral, and unjust tax. Most states do not tax food for this simple reason.
As election time rolls around in November of 2000, the political
rhetoric of today will have long since faded. Voters will simply look
at the bottom line - are they paying more or less? - and are their kids
getting the education they deserve? Passing real tax reform with large
personal exemptions is key to raising the much needed revenue while still easing
the tax burden on low- and middle-income families.
Next year, when over half of Tennessee,s voters look at their
paychecks and realize that the income tax isn,t even effecting them ? and then
hold that up to their grocery store receipt absent a state food tax ? all the
hype about the dreaded income tax won,t mean anything anymore. They,ll
know that the this tax break was brought to them by the legislators who voted
YES on tax reform.