By Eric Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A special joint offering from Tennessee craft brewers Yazoo and Calfkiller features an unusual sales pitch to beer aficionados: “Now With Even More Taxes!”
The new product going on sale this week is the latest effort among brewers to draw attention to Tennessee’s highest-in-the-nation tax scheme for beer, which high-end brewers argue disproportionately affects their ability to compete.
The beer is called “The Beacon: A Tennessee High Tax Ale,” and urges consumers to “Cut the red tape, pop the cap, and enjoy this oppressively refreshing ale.”
A legislative proposal to freeze the state’s beer tax cleared its first committee last week, and the brewing industry hopes it can avoid the fate of a bill to allow supermarket wine sales. The wine measure appeared to be gathering in momentum before its surprise defeat in a House committee last week. (Note: Don’t think there’s a valid analogy here. The beer bill (HB999) is virtually assured of passage.)
Tennessee’s beer taxes outstrip any other state’s because the bulk of the levy is based on price rather than volume. The more a beer costs, the higher the taxes that must be paid to buy it.
WASHINGTON (AP) — People who lived in the two states that saw the most deadly U.S. mass shootings in 2012 were less enthusiastic about buying new guns at the end of the year than those in most other states, according to an Associated Press analysis of new FBI data.
The latest government figures also reflect huge increases across the U.S. in the number of background checks for gun sales and permits to carry guns at the end of the year. After President Barack Obama’s re-election in November, the school shooting in Connecticut last month and Obama’s promise to support new laws aimed at curbing gun violence, the number of background checks spiked, especially in the South and West. In Georgia, the FBI processed 37,586 requests during October and 78,998 requests in December; Alabama went from 32,850 to 80,576 during the same period.
Nationally, there were nearly twice as many more background checks for firearms between November and December than during the same time period one year ago.
Background checks typically spike during the holiday shopping season, and some of the increases in the most recent FBI numbers can be attributed to that. But the number of background checks also tends to increase after mass shootings, when gun enthusiasts fear restrictive measures are imminent.
Tennessee collected a little more than $4 million in fines from nursing homes over the past three years, the sixth-highest total of any in the country, according to data collected by ProPublica,
From The Tennessean: The state imposed 86 fines, with the average fine being the second-highest in the nation. The fines, ranging from $2,015 to more than $525,000, were imposed on 42 of the more than 300 licensed nursing homes operating in Tennessee.
The largest single fine, $525,188, was imposed on Bristol Nursing home in Bristol. The second highest, $465,195, was imposed on Colonial Hills Nursing Center in Maryville, Tenn.
Data show that 40 nursing homes in the state were found to have serious deficiencies.
The ProPublica state-by-state list is HERE.
News release from Tax Foundation:
Washington, DC, July 31, 2012–California and Indiana have among the highest statewide sales taxes in the country, but Tennessee and Arizona take top billing when local sales taxes are added to the calculation, according to a new analysis by the Tax Foundation.
Hawaii, Maine, Virginia, Wyoming, and Wisconsin have the lowest combined state and local rates. Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon do not levy sales taxes.
“Retail sales taxes are one of the more transparent ways to collect tax revenue, as statewide sales tax rates are generally well-understood by taxpayers. The local sales taxes collected in thousands of jurisdictions in 37 states, however, often are not,” said Tax Foundation economist Scott Drenkard. “These rates can be substantial, so a state with a moderate statewide sales tax rate can end up with a very high combined state and local rate.”
The states with the highest combined state-local rates are Tennessee (9.43 percent), Arizona (9.12 percent), Louisiana (8.86 percent), Washington (8.83 percent), and Oklahoma (8.68 percent). The states with the lowest non-zero combined rates are Alaska (1.79 percent), Hawaii (4.35 percent), Maine (5.00 percent), Virginia (5.00 percent), and Wyoming (5.18 percent).
Plans to save taxpayer money have backfired on federal officials in Chattanooga, according to the Times-Free Press. A no-bid lease at downtown’s Warehouse Row, initially touted as a way to save on moving expenses, instead resulted in the U.S. attorney’s office paying one of the highest rents in the city.
Taxpayers will foot a $5.75 million rental bill over the 10-year term. The new offices will cost the federal government $1.35 million more than the U.S. General Services Administration’s initial estimate over the next decade and triple the amount now spent to house federal prosecutors in Chattanooga.
…For the same amount, the feds could buy a median-priced home for each of its employees within the next seven years.
The new deal has federal prosecutors paying $29.32 per rentable square foot, or about $54,521 a month, according to documents released in response to an open records request.
“They would be paying the highest rate in the city,” said David DeVaney, president of NAI Charter Real Estate. “You can find space in Chattanooga all day long at $22 per square foot, for full-service, including a generous build-out.”
The rent is more than double the previous rate in the same building — $14 per square foot — and well above Warehouse Row’s advertised lease rate of $16 per square foot.
By not using competitive bidding, federal officials ignored more than 1 million available square feet of office space downtown.
With nearly one in five residents stuck below the poverty line, metropolitan Memphis ranks as by far the most impoverished large metro area in the nation, according to new census figures reported by the Commercial Appeal.
Of the 1.3 million people in the eight-county metro area, an estimated 246,265 — 19.1 percent — lived in poverty last year, according to figures released Thursday from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
That poverty rate, although a slight improvement from the 19.4 percent estimate for 2009, was the highest among the 51 U.S. metro areas with populations of at least 1 million. Metropolitan New Orleans, with an estimated 17.4 percent of residents living in poverty, had the second-highest rate.