Tag Archives: Tennesseans

TN Ranks High in ‘Megadeal’ Corporate Subsidies

News release from Tennesseans for Fair Taxation:
Washington, DC, June 19, 2013 — In recent years, state and local governments have been awarding giant economic development subsidy packages to corporations more frequently than ever before. The packages frequently reach nine and even ten figures, and the cost per job averages $456,000 and often exceeds $1 million. Tennessee is tied for fifth-most megadeals–with 11–and ranks eighth in total megadeal spending at $2.5 billion.
These are the findings of Megadeals, a report released today by Good Jobs First, a non-profit resource center based in Washington, DC. The report can be found online at www.goodjobsfirst.org/megadeals.
“These subsidy awards are getting out of control,” said Philip Mattera, research director of Good Jobs First and principal author of the report. “Huge packages that used to be reserved for ‘trophy’ projects creating large numbers of jobs are now being given away more routinely.”
Naomi Goodin of Tennesseans for Fair Taxation (TFT) noted, “Tennessee is fifth in the number of megadeals, yet tied for last in measures of personal income growth. This sounds like a ‘reverse Robin Hood’ mentality. We already penalize our middle and lower-income citizens with proportionally higher taxes. Let’s at least make sure their tax dollars will benefit the people.”

More from the Chattanooga TFP:
The deal to lure Volkswagen to Chattanooga was the largest in Tennessee at $554 million in state and local subsidies, the report said.
Also, three Tennessee economic development projects involving Japanese automaker Nissan, including the relocation of its North American headquarters, were cited in the report, with total subsidies reaching $528 million, according to the study.
Kasia Tarczynska, a co-author of the report, said Tennessee offers expansive subsidy programs to companies. She cited the state’s tax credit programs related to jobs and training.
“Tennessee is very aggressive in this arena,” she said.
Tarczynska termed the headquarters relocation subsidies by the state “one of the more controversial,” saying it offers up to $50,000 per job for simply moving positions from one state to another, for example.

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Study: TN Taxes Hardest on Middle and Low-income Families

News release from Tennesseans for Fair Taxation:
Nashville, Tennessee – Like most state tax systems, Tennessee takes a much larger share from middle- and low-income families than from wealthy families, according to the fourth edition of Who Pays? A Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems in All 50 States, released today by the Washington-based Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) and Tennesseans for Fair Taxation (TFT).
Combining all of the state and local income, property, sales and excise taxes Tennessee residents pay, the average overall effective tax rates by income group are 11.2 percent for the bottom 20 percent, 8.8 percent for the middle 20 percent and 2.8 percent for the top one percent. Nationally, those figures are 11.1 percent for the bottom 20 percent, 9.4 percent for the middle 20 percent and 5.6 percent for the top one percent. The full report is online at www.whopays.org.

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On Sen. Campfield and Other Tennesseans at GOP Convention

On the Internet, state Sen. Stacey Campfield may well be attracting more interest than anyone from Tennessee doing reports on the Republican National Convention. Posts on his blog from the convention have ranged from reporting that “I don’t give a rat’s ass” has become a catchphrase in the Tennessee delegation – it ties into Sen. Jim Summerville using the phrase in an email to the legislature’s Black Caucus – to a review the weather.
Some sample reaction: The “rat’s ass” remark prompted a Memphis Flyer post declaring, basically, that Campfield was confirming that Republicans are racist. Jeff Woods, meanwhile, pointed to Campfield posts in general on Tuesday – “So far with the festivities just getting under way, he’s managed to offend women, African Americans and residents of virtually the entire Gulf Coast.” (A day earlier, Woodsie declared that “Congressman Todd Akin’s unfortunate remarks about rape and pregnancy have produced an image-shaping PR bonanza” for Campfield.)
A Psychology Today blog, meanwhile, has joined the Campfield conversation by revisiting his past remarks on AIDs and monkeys and some research on homophobia.
But there are other reports:

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Prominent Tennesseans Who Died in 2011

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Notable deaths in Tennessee in 2011:
— Lamar Fike, Jan. 21. A member of Elvis Presley’s inner circle.
— Charlie Louvin, Jan. 26. Singer and member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
— Bob Swansbrough, Feb. 1. Political science professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
— Ferlin Husky, March 17. Singer of “Wings of a Dove.”
— Jill F. Hudson Green, March 27. Longtime employee of the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters.
— Mel McDaniel, March 30. Country music singer.
— Larry Finch, April 2. Former basketball player and head coach at Memphis State.
— Ned McWherter, April 4. Former governor.
— Dr. Ray H. Hughes Sr., April 4. Three-time president of Lee College.
— Mason Rudolph, April 18. Longtime professional golfer.
— Ben Elton Cox of Jackson, June 12. Freedom Rider.
— Mike Barrett of Nashville, Aug. 8, Gold medal-winning member of the 1968 U.S. Olympic basketball team.
— Billy Grammer, Aug. 10. Longtime Grand Ole Opry performer.
— Adolpho A. Birch, Aug. 25. First black chief justice on the Tennessee Supreme Court.
— J.D. McLin, Sept. 3. Judge on the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals.
— Wilma Lee Cooper, Sept. 13. Longtime Grand Ole Opry performer.
— Bob Conger, Sept. 20. Mayor of Jackson from 1967 to 1989.
— Johnny Wright, Sept. 27. Country music pioneer and husband of singer Kitty Wells.
— Alfred Knight, Oct. 10. Nashville attorney and expert on open government law.
— Taz DiGregorio, Oct. 12. Co-writer of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” and Charlie Daniels band member.
— Barbara Orbison, Dec. 6, widow of singer Roy Orbison and Nashville music executive.
— Dobie Gray, Dec. 6. Singer of pop hit “Drift Away.”

TN Companies Listed in ‘Corporate Tax Dodging’ Report

News release from Tennesseans for Fair Taxation:
Knoxville, Tennessee – A comprehensive new study that profiles 265 consistently profitable Fortune 500 companies finds that International Paper, with global headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee, paid -1% overall in state corporate income taxes in 2008-10. The company reported $1.6 billion in gross earnings in its 2010 Annual Report, with $25.3 billion in assets.
These are among the findings in “Corporate Tax Dodging in the Fifty States, 2008-2010” released today by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) and Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) in conjunction with Tennesseans for Fair Taxation. The report finds a total of 68 companies that paid no state corporate income tax in at least one of the last three years and 20 of them, including International Paper, averaged a tax rate of zero or less during the 2008-2010 period. The corporate income tax rate in Tennessee is 6 percent.
Tennessee-based companies Eastman Chemical, Community Health Systems, AutoZone, FedEx, and Dollar General were also named in the report for having corporate tax rates of less than 3% overall from 2008-10. By contrast, because of Tennessee’s reliance on the sales tax and tax on food, low-income Tennesseans pay almost 12% of their income in taxes. Tax avoidance practices by multi-state, multinational corporations also shift tax responsibilities onto locally owned and operated companies that manage to pay their taxes and create jobs for Tennesseans, and distort the way companies operate through the use of tax avoidance schemes.

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TFT Plans ‘Untax Groceries, Tax the Wealth’ Rallies

News release from Tennesseans for Fair Taxation:
Tennesseans across the state are invited to celebrate their First Amendment rights by peacefully assembling in a Statewide Day of Action Nov. 12. The “Untax Groceries! Tax the Wealth!” Day of Action will urge Tennessee Representatives to oppose a Constitutional amendment to permanently ban an income tax in Tennessee.
“Our present state tax system is immoral, unfair and bad for our economic future. It hurts the middle class and the poor. We have one of the highest sales taxes on groceries and other items in the nation. That costs us jobs and revenue that could strengthen education, health care and public safety in Tennessee.” Elizabeth Wright, director of Tennesseans for Fair Taxation (TFT), says.
“But instead of our State Legislators passing a solution that would help those of us in the middle class, they are fighting for a Constitutional ban on an income tax to protect the wealthiest Tennesseans from paying their fair share of taxes,” Wright added.
“Everyone who wants large corporations and the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes so we can have more jobs and most Tennesseans can pay less in taxes should join us on November 12. We also want to celebrate the rights to free speech and peaceful assembly that were so bravely defended for us all by Occupy Nashville protestors Oct. 28,” says Dick Williams, TFT board chair. “The income tax ban is irresponsible and short-sighted. It would tie the hands of future legislators in accessing viable revenue options. Advocates of this ban have no idea what the future might hold for our state.”
The schedule of events includes Knoxville, Nashville, and Memphis as shown below:
Knoxville: Sat. Nov. 12, 2011 – 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the UNITE! Building, 1124 N. Broadway
Memphis: Sat. Nov. 12, 2011 – 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. with press conference at City Hall, 4 p.m.
Nashville: Sat. Nov. 12, 2011 – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Legislative Plaza with Occupy Nashville
The mission of Tennesseans for Fair Taxation since 1984 has been to end the sales tax on food and to create a more fair and progressive tax structure that ensures adequate revenue for the benefit of all Tennesseans.

Tax Reformers Talk of Haslam (who, btw, is not a big tipper)

Mike Morrow visited the annual conference of Tennesseans for Fair Taxation, best known for advocating a state income tax despite widespread opposition from most of the state’s politicians.
According to the resulting TNReport, about 40 TFT members from across the state gathered at the Second Presbyterian Church in Nashville on Saturday for their annual meeting to discuss their agenda and ways to better communicate their message of “tax justice.”
(Erica) Thomas (of Memphis) was asked if she had 30 seconds with Gov. Bill Haslam what she would say to him. She responded it would be more about what she would ask him.
“If not an income tax, tell me how with the sales tax going up are we going to generate revenues we need across the state?” she replied. “I need you point blank to tell me: What is your plan for us getting there? So maybe we can collaborate on that, but I haven’t heard what your plan is.”
Haslam has repeatedly said there is no chance of an income tax being implemented in Tennessee.
Anne Barnett of Knoxville said she first got involved with TFT as a student at the University of Tennessee. Her concerns were raised by rising tuition, budget cuts and the school letting professors go.
“The tax structure in Tennessee is regressive,” Barnett said. “We’re always going to be fighting for more funding for public services.”
She was asked, being from Knoxville, if she had ever met Haslam, the former Knoxville mayor. She hesitated before answering.
“Not personally, but my husband used to deliver pizza to him,” she said. “And he would never leave a tip.”