Chattanooga Times Free Press
By: Andy Sher
NASHVILLE — A proposed amendment to the Tennessee Constitution that would ban a general state income tax and payroll tax was read on the state Senate floor today.
The reading marks the first step in what proponents hope will ultimately prove to be a successful four-year effort.
The state constitution already says a general income tax is not allowed in Tennessee. But amendment sponsor Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, has pointed to past legislative efforts to pass a state income tax and uncertainty as to how a modern state Supreme Court would act.
Sen. Kelsey has noted that tough economic times may spur lawmakers to try do so again.
Sen. Joe Haynes, D-Nashville, recently called the resolution “pandering.”
Senate Joint Resolution 763 must be read three times and pass on third reading by a majority. It must then make its way through the House committee system, be read on the House floor three times and approved by a majority on the third reading.
The measure will have to be approved by a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate in the 107th General Assembly that begins next year. If the proposal passes there, only then would it go before voters on the 2014 ballot.
SJR 763 not apply to the existing 6 percent Hall Income Tax which is imposed on individuals and other entities receiving interest from bonds and notes and stock dividends. That tax was passed in 1929 and has been upheld as cons.