Tag Archives: August

State Tax Collections Below Expectations in August

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee’s tax collections have fallen short of projections in the first month of the budget year.
Finance Commissioner Mark Emkes said in a release Friday that the weak revenues reflect a slow economic recovery on the national level.
The state’s total general fund collections for August were $660 million, or about $6 million less than budgeted. The August collections reflect economic activity in the previous month.
Sales taxes grew by just 1.1 percent during the month to $569 million, or nearly $16 million below expectations. But corporate franchise and excise taxes beat projections by $5 million.
Sales tax collections posted a 6.6 percent annual growth rate in the budget year that ended June 30, while corporate taxes grew by 22 percent.

Note: The news release is below.

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Former Sen. John Ford’s to Be Release From Prison This Month

From The Commercial Appeal:
Former state senator John Ford should be released from prison later this month after more than four years behind bars, his brother said Tuesday.
The Memphis Democrat reported to prison on April 28, 2008, following a bribery conviction. He is expected to be released to a halfway house in less than two weeks, said his brother, Edmund Ford Sr.
“The information I have is he should be here on the 20th,” said Ford, a former city councilman.
Chris Burke, spokesman for the federal Bureau of Prisons, said he can’t comment on a specific pending release but said by law inmates can be released to a halfway house anytime during the last year of their term. Ford’s scheduled release date is Feb. 8, 2013. Following time in a halfway house, inmates typically are transferred to home confinement to finish out their term, Burke said.
Ford, 70, resigned in 2005 from the state senate where he’d served over parts of four decades following his indictment in the FBI’s Tennessee Waltz bribery sting. Convicted in 2007 of accepting $55,000 in cash payoffs from an undercover agent posing as a corrupt businessman seeking tailored legislation, Ford is the last of 12

TN Early Voting Sets Record: 326,876

News release from Secretary of State’s office:
A total of 326,876 Tennesseans voted early or absentee by mail, easily surpassing the previous high for an August election during a presidential year. The previous record – in August 2008 – was 217,441.
Early voting ended Saturday. The election will be held Thursday.
It is important to compare elections with the same or similar races on the ballot because that can affect turnout. For example, the presidential election in November is expected to have a higher turnout. Also, August elections during non-presidential years tend to have higher turnout because high profile races for county mayor and sheriff are on the ballot then.
“For the last year, our Division of Elections has conducted an unprecedented voter outreach effort,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “This campaign was launched to help educate people about Tennessee’s new photo ID law. Not only have election officials at the state and the county level done a good job in informing people about that law, but they have also raised awareness about this year’s elections. We see that reflected in these record early voting numbers.”
Voters should remember to bring a state- or federally-issued photo ID to the polls with them in order to cast ballots Thursday. A voter who does not present a state- or federally-issued photo ID at the polls will not be turned away, but will receive a provisional ballot. However, the voter will need to return to the local election commission office within two business days after the election and present a state- or federally-issued photo ID in order for the provisional ballot to be counted.
Examples of acceptable forms of ID, whether current or expired, include driver licenses, U.S. passports, Department of Safety photo ID cards, U.S. military photo IDs and other state or federal government photo ID cards. College student IDs are not acceptable.
For more information, please visit www.GoVoteTN.com or call the Division of Elections toll-free at 1-877-850-4959.

Early Voting on Track to Surpass 2008 Levels

State Election Coordinator Mark Goins tells the Chattanooga TFP that early voting totals are likely to be higher this summer than in 2008, when about 206,000 people voted early statewide.
According to the state Division of Elections website, the statewide total on Friday was 121,304 (that included 81,854 Republican primary votes and 33,918 Democratic primary votes). Those totals don’t include some counties that didn’t get their Friday vote reported to the state and had their last update on Thursday.
“You’re going to see those numbers jump substantially in the last three or four days of early voting,” Goins told the newspaper (Note: His name is misspelled in the story).

TN Unemployment Rate 9.7 Percent in August

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee’s August unemployment rate of 9.7 percent decreased slightly from the previous month.
July’s rate was 9.8 percent. The national unemployment rate for August was 9.1 percent, unchanged from July.
State Labor Commissioner Karla Davis says there’s a “balance of seasonal hires and layoffs” each year from July to August. She says jobs related to education have started back and temporary hires for the summer are ending.
According to a survey of businesses, monthly employment increases came in local government, up 13,600 jobs; administrative, support and waste services, up 6,300; and educational and health services, up 2,200.
From July to August, nondurable goods manufacturing decreased by 2,100 jobs; and trade, transportation and utilities was down 2,100.

State Revenue Rose Again in August

News release from Department of Finance and Administration:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee revenue collections continued to show modest improvement in August. Finance and Administration Commissioner Mark Emkes today reported that overall August revenues were $806.6 million, which is 7.65% above August 2010 collections.
“August marks the 13th consecutive month in which total collections surpassed the budgeted estimates,” Emkes said. “This is good news, but nationally, leading economic indicators continue to indicate a very slow recovery is in progress. Coupled with the uncertainty surrounding resolution of the federal budget, it means we must continue to closely monitor our spending in the months ahead to keep the current budget balanced as we prepare for the up coming 2012-2013 budget.”
On an accrual basis, August is the first month in the 2011-2012 fiscal year.
August collections were $19.2 million more than the budgeted estimate. The general fund was over collected by $18.3 million and the four other funds were over collected by $900,000.
Sales tax collections were $5.3 million more than the estimate for August. The August growth rate was positive 5.09%.
Franchise and excise taxes combined were $17.4 million above the budgeted estimate of $16.5 million.
Gasoline and motor fuel collections decreased by 0.40% from August of 2010, but were $1.5 million above the budgeted estimate of $71.7 million.
Inheritance tax collections were $1.1 million above the budgeted estimate.
Privilege tax collections were $2.6 million less than the budgeted estimate of $17.6 million
Tobacco tax collections for the month were under collected by $2.1 million
All other taxes were under collected by a net of $1.4 million.
The budgeted revenue estimates for 2011-2012 are based on the State Funding Board’s consensus recommendation of April 15, 2011 and adopted by the first session of the 107th General Assembly in May. They are available on the state’s website at http://www.tn.gov/finance/bud/budget.html.

In-state Retailers Can Sorta Act Like Amazon Aug. 5-7

News release from Department of Revenue:
NASHVILLE – The Department of Revenue is reminding Tennesseans the
sixth annual Sales Tax Holiday is scheduled for Friday, August 5 through
Sunday, August 7.
Tennessee shoppers during these three days of savings can save nearly
10 percent on tax-free clothing, school and art supplies and computer
“The annual Sales Tax Holiday was designed with Tennessee families in
mind, providing savings for families, especially as students begin to
prepare for the upcoming school year,” Gov. Bill Haslam said. ”
The holiday begins Friday, August 5 at 12:01 a.m. and ends Sunday,
August 7 at 11:59 p.m. During the designated three-day weekend,
consumers will not pay state or local sales tax on select clothing with
a price of $100 or less per item, school and art supplies with a price
of $100 or less per item, and computers with a price of $1,500 or less.
“As in years past, last year’s tax-free weekend was very successful,
providing Tennessee taxpayers nearly $8.6 million in tax savings” said
Revenue Commissioner Richard H. Roberts. “We are hopeful that all
Tennessee shoppers will take advantage of the tax relief provided by the
2011 Sales Tax Holiday.”
Please visit the Sales Tax Holiday Web site at www.tntaxholiday.com to
learn more about the items exempt from sales tax. The Tennessee
Department of Revenue also assists consumers via e-mail,
Salestax.Holiday@TN.gov, and through its toll-free statewide telephone
hot line, (800) 342-1003. Staff is available to answer questions Monday
through Friday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time. (Out-of-state and
Nashville-area callers, please dial (615) 253-0600.)
Examples of exempt items include:
Clothing: Shirts, dresses, pants, coats, gloves and mittens,
hats and caps, hosiery, neckties, belts, sneakers, shoes, uniforms
whether athletic or non-athletic and scarves
School Supplies: Binders, book bags, calculators, tape,
chalk, crayons, erasers, folders, glue, pens, pencils, lunch boxes,
notebooks, paper, rulers and scissors
Art Supplies: Clay and glazes; acrylic, tempera and oil
paints; paintbrushes for artwork; sketch and drawing pads; and
Computers: Central processing unit (CPU), along with various
other components including monitor, keyboard, mouse, cables to connect
components and preloaded software (Note: While the CPU may be purchased
separately, other items must be part of a bundled computer package in
order to be eligible.) iPads and other tablet computers are eligible for
tax exemption, while video games and consoles are not.

House Votes to Push Schools Toward Uniform School Opening Date

The House has voted to push public schools toward beginning their school year no later than the fourth Monday in August, but only after more than 20 counties were excluded from the bill’s provisions.
As passed by the Senate earlier, SB1471 would require that schools open no later than the second Monday in August in 2012, the third Monday in August in 2013 and the fourth Monday in August in 2014.
But the House piled on amendments exempting various counties at the urging of legislators who said they acted at the request of school boards in their home counties.
Backers of the bill warned the multiple exemptions could violate provisions of the state constitution, but those pushing the amendments – with one exception – apparently accepted arguments that each legislator should decide matters impacting only his or her county.
Reps. John DeBerry, D-Memphis, and Richard Montgomery, R-Sevierville, acted as lead spokesman for the bill, contending it would benefit parents and students by assuring summer vacation time is preserved and businesses by assuring that students are available to work at summer jobs.
Montgomery said a University of Tennessee poll found that 71 percent of Tennesseans think schools now start too early. He also said schools will save money by not having to pay for cooling during August, the most expensive month for air conditioning.
The move to exclude multiple counties, Montgomery said, “just blows my mind.”
The bill passed 70-23, with many of those who exempted their own counties out still supporting the amended version.
One of those was Casada, who was criticized by Democrats for removing Williamson County after earlier this year sponsoring a bill to have the Legislature override a Nashville City ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The only opt-out amendment that was rejected came from Democratic Rep. Brenda Gilmore of Nashville. It was defeated after Republican Rep. Jim Gotto, also of Nashville, objected to Gilmore’s move.
The bill allows school systems that miss an average of 10 school days or more for a five-year period to seek a waiver from the law from the Department of Education.
The measure now returns to the Senate, which must decide whether to go along with the multiple amendments.
Among East Tennessee counties amended out of the bill were Blount, Hamblen, Johnson, Carter, Loudon, Monroe and McMinn. Memphis City Schools, the state’s largest system, was also excluded on motion of Rep. Joe Towns, D-Memphis.