Tennessee Legislature Votes to Grow State Government $3 Billion and 16 Percent More than the Growth of Tennesseans’ Incomes

Tennessee Capital building

Members of the Tennessee General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a bill Thursday that acknowledges that the growth in state government this year exceeds the growth of Tennessean’s income by $3 billion, or 16 percent.

The action by the legislature is mandated by the Tennessee Constitution in Article II, Section 24 when state spending grows faster than its economy.

The measure, commonly known as the Copeland Cap, was named for its House sponsor of the constitutional amendment, the late Republican State Representative David Copeland of Ooltewah, who passed away in 2019.

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‘Copeland Cap’ Hits Decade-Long High in Fiscal Year 2019-2020

A bill passed by the Tennessee General Assembly last week reveals that in fiscal year 2019-2020 the Copeland Cap, at $629 million or 3.6 percent, hit its highest level in more than a decade.

The legislation, which passed as HB2819 in both chambers on March 19 with only one “no” vote by Democrat Representative G. A. Hardaway (D-Memphis), was one of the four bills addressed in an expedited fashion to enact a bare bones budget before lawmakers recessed until June 1 amid the COVID-19 health crisis, The Tennessee Star reported.

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Ten Months Into the Fiscal Year, Tennessee’s Revenues Exceed Estimates by $556.7 Million

  A press release issued Friday by Department of Finance and Administration Commissioner Stuart McWhorter announced that Tennessee’s May revenues were $46.3 million more than the state budgeted for the month. Also reported was that total tax collections by the state so far this year exceeded the estimates by more…

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Commentary: Finance Chair State Rep. Charles Sargent Misrepresented Copeland Cap on House Floor in Budget Debate

  During his presentation of the budget bills during the House floor session Friday State Representative and Chairman of the House Finance, Ways & Means Committee, Charles Sargent (R-Franklin) misrepresented the Copeland Cap constitutional amendment several times. Charles Sargent has served in the Tennessee House since 1997, became a member…

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State Sen. Todd Gardenhire Pushes Unsuccessfully For Taxpayers To Be Compensated For Surplus Revenue

NASHVILLE, Tennessee — State Senator Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga) on Wednesday made a pitch to compensate Tennessee taxpayers for surplus revenue. He was a lone voice, however, before the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee voted 10-1 for a bill that allows the money to be used for government spending. Gardenhire…

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Haslam’s Gas Tax Increase May Force Tennessee Lawmakers to Violate the Copeland Cap Amendment to State Constitution

Tennessee Star

Governor Haslam’s 2017-18 budget that incorporated IMPROVE Act and other spending promises now exceeds the constitutional budget growth limit established by the 1978 amendment to Article II, Section 24 of the Tennessee Constitution that states, “In no year shall the rate of growth of appropriations from state tax revenues exceed the estimated…

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