House GOP picks an unusual bargaining chip in budget debate: Retaining the Hall income tax

Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) presides over a House floor session on June 1, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

For years, the contest among legislative Republicans was over who could move to eliminate the state’s Hall Income Tax the quickest. Now it appears House Republicans want to hold on to the last vestige of the tax on earnings from stocks and bonds for another five years.

The Daily Memphian‘s Sam Stockard reports the House plan would keep the 1% tax on the books until 2025, pulling in about $49 million per year as the state scrambles to make up for revenues lost during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Senate wants to keep the levy on it’s current path toward expiration on Jan. 1.

Look no further than House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) to illustrate the political importance of doing away with the Hall tax. As Sexton told the told the Crossville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce in 2011. ”

We don’t want to be a state that penalizes people for investments or for saving … It’s also bad policy. We shouldn’t penalize people for saving for the future.

Will Sexton really want to have to explain to constituents — a large portion of whom are retirees — why his first session as House speaker included a resurrection of the hated Hall tax? Probably not. Many political observers see the Hall tax item as a bluff by the House to try to negotiate concessions out of the Senate.

The question is whether House Republicans are really just negotiating with themselves.

29 Responses to House GOP picks an unusual bargaining chip in budget debate: Retaining the Hall income tax

  • Avatar
    James White says:

    Heck No . Get rid of the HALL Tax. Less taxes through Less government.

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    Nancy Sargent says:

    My husband Rep. Charles M Sargent worked hard to get rid of the Halls Tax It would be sad for many if they wait.

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      John says:

      Rep. Sargent was a good man. I don’t know what has happened to today’s Republicans. Bill Sanderson having sex with young boys, Glen Casada getting drunk with young men and sexting them about their orgasms, the president paying off pornstars and renegotiating his prenup with his third wife. Who knows what William Francis Hagerty IV is in to? What happened to family values?

    • Avatar
      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      PAGING MARLE, PAGING MARLE.

      Sometime ago I believe you thought “Lenny” was “Beatrice.” I disagreed because Beatrice’s approach was more the uninformed visceral left-wing emotionalism that Lenny never captured. NOW I’VE GOT IT! “Lenny” is “John” and visa versa. See the childish and/or somewhat imbalanced obsessive attention paid to the private lives of Republican officeholders especially when it concerns sex?

      I should have gone into detective work. I think I missed my calling.

      • Avatar
        MARLE says:

        Sometimes the twisted need to change things up. Lenny could simply have called on one his other personas to meld into the Beatrice character. But Lenny has been AWOL

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    Norma Shirk says:

    However hated the Hall tax may be, it makes no sense to cut taxes for higher income people while simulataneously cutting assistance to lower income people – the group hit hardest by the covid-19 shutdown. Help low income families remain in their homes, feed their families, educate their children and get training to qualify for better paying jobs. All it takes is refusing to give more welfare to the wealthy.

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      Beatrice Shaw says:

      Agree totally. Help the poor in these tough times and retain taxes on the wealthy. Most don’t have investment incomes so the government is making a good move here.

      • Avatar
        Stuart I. Anderson says:

        Poorly constructed sentence Beatrice. What you should have said is that “Most lay-about shade-tree people with whom I sympathize don’t have investment incomes while the productive citizenry whom I a abhor do so lets continue to stick it to them!” Looks like a Bleeding Heart Beatrice day.

        • Avatar
          Tom Coe says:

          It is trolls like you Stuart who give forums a bad name.

          • Avatar
            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            The Simple World of Tom: If you agree with me your offerings are worthy of consideration, if you disagree with me you are a troll who “. . .give forums a bad name.” If we only had more one-sentence weighty commentary like that Tom why we all might earn another college degree just from participating in these forums.

          • Avatar
            James White says:

            Tom the purpose of government is not to take from one and give to another.

          • Avatar
            Gail McPeak says:

            Sucks to be Stuart!

          • Avatar
            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            On the contrary Gail, it’s a wonderful uplifting experience that I heartily commend to you. First, you have to love liberty and freedom. Second, you have to truly feel that while everyone isn’t entitled to their own facts, they are entitled to their own opinion. Third, you have to come to grips with how unlikely it is for people with different personalities, different upbringings, and different life experiences to agree on almost anything so disagreements should not be the cause of rancor between people. Work on it Gail, the older you are the harder this is going to be, but don’t give up.

        • Avatar
          Elmer Gantry says:

          Stu, you seem to be altogether clueless about the many routine home maintenance chores pertaining to our shade-trees that must be carried out (physical labors that seem to be alien to you, Stu) before a shade-tree homeowner can even begin to “lay-about” and truly enjoy the benefits provided by his or her shade trees.

          Stu, that is some rough mansplaining that you directed toward Beatrice…and I don’t see a whole lot of shade trees around the Franklin USB wealth planning office.

      • Avatar
        Christina Norris says:

        Thank you, Beatrice. Ignore Stuart Anderson’s narrow–minded post. He has no friendships or connections to low-income people so he clings to his fantasy that they’re all lazy and not as deserving as he is.

      • Avatar
        MARLE says:

        ….”stop the endless stream of no/low skilled immigrants from barreling into this country that take the jobs of Americans…..

        That, Stuart, is a poorly constructed sentence. As long as we’re grading papers here.

    • Avatar
      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Another alternative would be to immediately stop the endless stream of no/low skilled immigrants from barreling into this country that take the jobs of Americans and fine tune the welfare programs so that people didn’t earn more after-tax not working if they craftily parlay the programs just right than they do working.

      • Avatar
        MARLE says:

        Who’s worried about folks earning More not working. Not Republicans. Isn’t that the brilliantly crafted program of Covid worker-relief just brought to you by the Mnuchin/Trump team? And voted for by Marsha and Green? yeah, It IS.

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          Stuart I. Anderson says:

          I think they justified that by saying “IT’S AN EMERGENCY DAMN IT” and there isn’t the time to draft legislation that finely tunes the dispensing of money in just the right amounts to just the right people. Again, with the economy in lock down Marsha (Heritage-85%) and beloved Mark Green (Heritage-100%!!!!) were in no position to do other than vote “Yay.”

          • Avatar
            MARLE says:

            When Lou Holtz was brought into U of SC to coach he did so with disastrous results. Weekly he had a radio show where he endlessly spouted excuse after excuse. I suggested that maybe he should publish a collection in book-form called ‘The Book of Excuses” so that executives in all fields could have a reliable, ready made, handbook.

            I suggest you write one based on all the offerings you served up here.

          • Avatar
            James White says:

            I remember Mark “Heritage” Green voting for my taxes to pay for Communist Russia’s Solar Panel insulation. No thanks.

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    MARLE says:

    Well this should come as good news for SOME of the wealthy such as those who own car dealerships. Isn’t the trade off here going to be that the annual July Sales Tax holiday for school nap sacks, pencils and the like be extended to include the hefty tax on auto purchases? That should spark sales traffic and Profits for SOME of the wealthy to buffer the fact that they will still pay that 1% Hall Tax.

    Government picking winners and losers. Got to love it.

  • Avatar
    Stuart I. Anderson says:

    In this forum I try to point out to my conservative friends the utter worthlessness of the Republican Party for our cause as compared to the Democratic party for the leftist cause. Can you imagine the Democrats using as a “bargaining chip” with other Democrats the elimination of preferential hiring of all minorities and women or opposition to Right to Work laws, or proposing to save money by reducing the army of welfare dispensers and the money and endless programs dedicated to taking money from those who earned it and giving it to to those who didn’t? Preposterous isn’t it?

    The difference between the Democratic Party and the Republicans is that Democrats realize that they have to rigorously support and represent the interest of their base rather than just the wealthy leftist plutocrats that financially support the party while Republicans have contempt for their base other than the wealthy plutocrats who support the party. Good thinking Republicans, kick one of the few constituencies that still support your party of placeholdersl in the butt. “. . .AND NOT A PENNY FOR THE REPUBLICAN PARTY”

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    Susan E Gingrich says:

    Money could be saved by implementing welfare reform in TN right now, with better auditing and ensuring people capable of working are employed before receiving federal/state benefits. I was at a mall yesterday, and almost every store had a help wanted sign. No Medicaid expansion, but a new federal waiver which helps lower income people afford health care, until they make more money. Hand-ups when warranted, but never continuing handouts.

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    Keith Richardson says:

    Yes, during this turbulent time our state needs to ensure that less of the burden falls on low income households, many of whom have to work two jobs just to keep their heads above the water. Those of us more well-off can afford to give up a little to promote a more equitable (and stable) society.

    • Avatar
      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      I’m all for giving up a great deal “. . .to promote a more equitable (and stable) society.” Such a society would be “equitable” which my dictionary defines it as “dealing fairly and equally with all concerned” by rewarding EVERYONE with the fruits of their contribution to society in accordance with the value of their contribution to society. This is possible simply by the operation of the free market so long as we don’t have any group that arrogantly attempt to decide who is “. . .more well-off . . .” so that they can “afford to give up a little . . .” which in the hands of the majority confiscating the minority’s money ends up being quite a large amount indeed. By all means let’s craft a welfare program that takes in a relatively small amount of people who are truly disabled and incapable of contributing to society, stop immigration of no/low skilled taking the jobs of Americans, and let the rest GET A JOB or be well on their way to getting a job.

      As for stable society, we apparently don’t have enough jail space in this country. Stability in society is achieved by putting the lawless in jail and keeping them there for a significant period of time. This period of mob vandalism by way of “protests” attracts the lawless like a light attracts bugs. What a wonderful opportunity to vacuum up the lawless in our society that pray upon the lawful. That Keith will do more for the stability of our society than any redistributionist scheme that has ever been devised.

    • Avatar
      MARLE says:

      The well off have been giving up (those who don’t enjoy tax carve outs specially designed for their industry/circumstance) quite a bit for decades and we have a society just as unstable if we use whining and rioting and lawsuits as evidence of instability and malcontent as we did 30 and 40 years ago.

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    Cannoneer2 says:

    No progress in getting rid of statutory raises, I’d bet.

  • S T U P I D move by House. Yay republicrats

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