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Senator Alexander Using Bad Math

September 24, 2009

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Should health care reform be approved by Congress, Sen. Lamar Alexander recently asserted in a constituent letter, it would require the state of Tennessee to impose a 10 percent income tax to pay for it. That claim is being contested by a variety of organizations. They say the senator's arithmetic doesn't add up. Alexander contends that health care reform would add $1.2 billion to the state budget in coming years.

Dick Williams, chairman of Tennessee Common Cause and board member of Tennesseans for Fair Taxation, says figures from the Tennessee General Assembly Fiscal Review Committee show that a two percent income tax would be plenty to cover that.

"We don't see anywhere that the bills will cost enough for Tennessee to require a 10 percent state income tax."

Several Tennessee organizations have asked the Senator to either retract the information or issue a correction. They say it's important that elected officials provide accurate information to constituents.

Williams says health care reform and tax reform in Tennessee are far too important for anyone to be demagoguing.

"Using a scare tactic (which unfortunately is going around in Tennessee over the income tax) to criticize the national health care system, as well as demonize an income tax, is our concern."

Dick Layman, Public News Service - TN