Tennessee’s economy is flourishing.
People associated with a Nashville-based think tank say they want the state’s elected officials to make the state more business friendly this year.
Using the theme “Tennessee is Open for Business,” members of the Beacon Center of Tennessee released their 2020 legislative agenda Thursday.
Officials with Beacon, a free market think tank, did this through their 501(c)(4) advocacy partner Beacon Impact, according to a press release.
“These reforms will add to Tennessee’s flourishing state economy by cementing worker freedom in the state Constitution, protecting local taxpayers from unexpected property tax increases without a referendum, making it easier for workers and consumers to do business in the state by recognizing occupational licenses from other states, and protecting the fundamental rights of property owners across the state,” according to Beacon.
Members of Beacon Impact listed the policies they are advocating during the upcoming 2020 legislative session:
• Cementing “Right to Work” in the State Constitution. Members of Beacon Impact say “Tennessee’s Right to Work law has been one of the prominent drivers of the state’s booming economy, and it is important to protect workers’ freedom to choose whether or not to join a union and pay union dues.” They also said that placing Right to Work in the Tennessee Constitution would ensure worker freedom is always protected. “Beacon will actively support the proposed constitutional amendment to place Right to Work on the ballot so that voters can decide if they want to add this law to the Constitution,” they said in a press release.
• Having a property tax cap. Members of Beacon Impact say Tennessee is one of only four states nationwide without any cap on property taxes. That, Beacon Impact officials went on to say, has led to substantial increases in property taxes in cities and counties around the state. “In 2019 alone, there were more than $208 million in proposed or adopted property tax increases in the state,” according to Beacon’s press release. “Beacon believes that local taxpayers have the right to vote on large proposed property tax increases. Beacon’s proposal still gives local governments the ability to raise property taxes, but any proposal above inflation plus two percent in a single year must be voted on by local taxpayers.”
• Fighting for Occupational Licensing Reciprocity. Beacon officials said they will look to fight overregulation and red tape when it comes to licensing, especially in lower and middle-income professions. “Beacon will work to recognize occupational licenses of those moving into Tennessee as long as they have been in good standing for at least a year, through the Licensing Independence for Future Tennesseans (LIFT) Act,” officials said in the press release.
• Have permit freedom. “Beacon will advocate for making the local permitting process for property owners and businesses more transparent, timely, and clear,” the press release quoted Beacon staff as saying. “Oftentimes permit requirements on individuals are vague and lack a set timetable for governments to approve or deny permits. Beacon will work to make this process more fair to Tennesseans going through the local permitting process.”
The press release quoted Beacon Impact CEO Justin Owen as saying Tennessee has a strong economy, but state officials must ensure it remains that way with sensible reforms.
“By protecting worker freedoms and property rights, we can build upon that success and keep Tennessee open for business for years to come,” Owen said.
– – –