WKU Public Radio News Staff
Fri April 13, 2012
Governor Haslam Sees His Agenda Moving Through Tennessee Legislature
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has scored three legislative victories regarding food and inheritance taxes, and a civil service reform bill. Members of the Tennessee House have voted to cut the state’s tax on food by a quarter of a percentage point, and they agreed to gradually eliminate Tennessee’s tax in inheritance by 2016.
Both of those provisions are part of Governor Haslam’s tax-cut initiative.
The Tennessee Senate approved the Republican Governor’s “TEAM” act, which stands for “Tennessee Excellence, Accountability, and Management.” That vote sends the bill to the Governor for his signature.
Haslam says the measure is necessary to revamp the Volunteer State’s civil service system, which he says places too much emphasis on seniority.
Critics of the plan say it will open to the door to patronage and cronyism.
Democrats have also criticized the Governor’s efforts to eliminate the inheritance tax, saying the move will only benefit a handful of taxpayers while taking a large cut out of state revenues.
The Tennessean reports that during the 2011 fiscal year, 845 families were subject to the estate tax, which generated 98-million dollars in revenue.