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Fiscal Cliff Deal Included TN Sales Tax Deductability

Part of the “fiscal cliff” tax bill approved by Congress extended the ability of Tennesseans to deduct sales tax payments from their federal income taxes, reports the Commercial Appeal. But that didn’t stop Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a longtime advocate fo sales tax deductability, from joining other Tennessee Republican congressmen in voting no.
Back when she was a freshman, U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn worked with then Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee to permit Tennesseans and other filers in states without income taxes to deduct sales taxes on federal returns. As recently as Nov. 16, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., was calling Blackburn “the leader in restoring the deduction in 2004 and she’s the leader now in an effort to ensure it is extended again.”
But on New Year’s Day, when the extension was made part of the deal to avert the fiscal cliff, Blackburn and every member of the Tennessee congressional delegation except U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., voted against it.
Alexander and Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., also voted for the deal that included extending the deduction, which can be used by the roughly 25 percent of Tennesseans who itemize their deductions rather than taking the standard deduction.
Asked to explain her vote, Blackburn said in a statement, “Restoring sales tax deductions was one of the first pieces of legislation I helped pass when I came to Congress. As is the case with most pieces of legislation we debate, there were obviously provisions in the bill that I was happy to see included such as the extension of the sales tax deduction, which is very important for my constituents in Tennessee.
“However, as a total package, the Senate bill was a bad deal for the American people. It only makes our situation worse. I could not support a proposal that imposes job-killing tax hikes, does nothing to restrain spending, adds to our annual deficit, and increases our debt by nearly $4 trillion over the next decade.”