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Critics say Income Tax Ban like Locking Yourself in a Burning House

December 19, 2008

Nashville, TN – The idea of an amendment to the state constitution to ban an income tax in Tennessee is being circulated by some anti-tax state lawmakers - at a time when the state treasury is coming up one billion dollars short. The proposal doesn't make sense, according to Brian Paddock with Tennesseans for Fair Taxation.

"The situation is a lot like if you were to turn around in your kitchen and see a wall of flames, and instead of grabbing the fire extinguisher, you lock yourself into the house and start nailing the windows shut."

In Paddock's opinion, by prohibiting an income tax, the state would be chained to the old way of doing things, such as depending on the sales and food taxes. With it, he says the state has new options.

"Cut those taxes so that ordinary working folks pay much less taxes. You could give 60 to 80 percent of the people in this state a tax cut."

Paddock says that without modernizing of the tax system, Tennesseans will start to see problems in everything from managing the fire season, because of a lack of firefighting equipment, to children being mistreated because child protection lacked the means to intervene. The measure would have to pass two consecutive sessions of the legislature before it could be voted on by Tennesseans in 2014.

Meanwhile Governor Phil Bredesen has pledged not to enact an income tax and is looking at budget reductions instead. Tennessee's present personal income tax applies only to income from interest and dividends.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - TN