State Rep. Barry “Boss” Doss (R-Leoma), chairman of the House Transportation and champion of the
IMPROVE Act “Tax Cut Act of 2017” claimed in the Finance, Ways and Means Committee last Tuesday that Tennessee is the lowest taxed state in the nation.
The Kiplinger Report, a “leader in personal finance news and business forecasting” put together their list of “10 Best States to Live In For Taxes” in August 2016, and that list does not include Tennessee.
In order, Kiplinger’s top 10 are: Wyoming, Alaska, Florida, Nevada, Arizona, Louisiana, Alabama, South Dakota, Mississippi and Delaware.
Five states on the list, like Tennessee, do not have an income tax.
Other robust criteria Kiplinger used for their ranking was property tax from U.S. Census’ American Community Survey, the Tax Foundation’s figure for average sales tax, fuel tax from The American Petroleum Institute, sin taxes from the state’s tax agency and the Tax Foundation, inheritance and gift taxes from each state’s tax agency, wireless taxes from the Tax Foundation, travel taxes from the state’s tax agency and a lodging tax study by HVS Convention Sports and Entertainment Consulting and the fiscal stability of the states by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
The primary feature of the
IMPROVE Act “Tax Cut Act of 2017″is to raise the fuel taxes, but it will also allow city and county governments to increase their local hotel/motel (lodging) and car rental taxes. Both of these taxes weigh into Kiplinger’s ratings of the most tax-friendly states.
Continuing the low –tax claim, Rep. Doss stated, “We have already lowered taxes by $270 million just since I have been here,” which denies facts presented in Tennessee state budget documents.
In actuality, since Rep. Doss came into office in 2013, just the state portion of the annual budget has grown from $15 billion to a proposed $17.9 billion in 2017-18. That’s an increase of nearly $3 billion, or a 19 percent growth in Tennessee government over a short five-year period.
“Boss Doss insisted on renaming the IMPROVE Act as ‘The Tax Cut Act of 2017,’ but a more accurate renaming would be ‘The Income Redistribution Act to Business Friends of Gov. Haslam Act of 2017,’ ” a Capitol Hill insider tells The Tennessee Star.