by Pete Edwards
Word has just reached The People News that the idea of a Tennessee state income tax is not dead. Legislation in the form of House Bill 2027 was filed in February to impose a 1% Privilege Tax on all Tennessee residents earning over $50,000 a year, with the revenue generated from the new tax equally divided between hospitals serving the indigent population and the formation of a Comprehensive Heath Insurance Pool to provide health insurance to the working poor.
The 30 page document, sponsored by State Representative Mike Kernell, a Democrat from Memphis, is similar to a privilege tax Memphis planned to impose on suburbanites working in the city. The aim of this tax however is to bridge the gap between TennCare budget cutbacks and those being removed from the TennCare rolls.
Tennessee residents are overwhelmingly opposed to a tax on income and the State Constitution expressly forbids it, yet left wing legislators seem determined to impose the new tax which although starting out low and effecting the higher paid can expand to include those earning less. Opponents also contend that once a new tax has become established, it can be raised to continue the growth of state government at the expense of the people it was designed to help.