Hall tax repeal prompts letter-writing war between GOP legislators and Democrats

A letter-writing war has been underway in recent editions of The Cleveland Daily Banner between Republican state legislators representing Bradley County and Democrats. A letter from state Democratic  Chair Mary Mancini was the latest episode and prompted the newspaper to do a roundup story that chronicles the back-and-forth written sniping.

Seems things started with a Nov. 9 letter to the editor from Carl  Lansden, a former chairman of the Bradley County Democratic Party, criticizing state Sens. Mike Bell and Todd Gardenhire, along with Reps. Kevin Brooks and Dan Howell, over their votes to repeal the state’s Hall income tax on investment earnings. Lansden blamed the phased-in repeal of the tax – three-eighths of revenue received goes to local governments – for loss of money that prompted a 29 cent increase in the Bradley County property tax rate.

The four legislators then sent a joint letter to the newspaper denouncing Democrats. Excerpt:

“A recent letter to the editor criticizing the work and tax cuts of the Tennessee General Assembly perfectly frames the fundamental disagreement between Democratic and Republican principles: While Democrats believe in higher taxes and hold a ‘government knows best’ attitude, Republicans advocate for lower taxes for all and firmly believe as much money as possible should remain in your wallet to spend on those things you deem most important.”

Excerpt from Mancini’s letter in reply:

“After reading your letter to the editor concerning the Hall income tax, I have to ask: While you have been depleting much-needed revenue that can keep rural hospitals open and our bridges safe to drive on, what have you done to ensure that all Tennesseans have the opportunity for a better life for themselves and their families?” Mancini’s letter cited.

She added, “Let me ask it another way: What do you see happening in Bradley County and in every other county in this great state we call home?”

The Tennessee Democratic chair then answered her own question.

“I’ll tell you what we see,” she wrote. “We see distress. We see empty manufacturing sites that were once thriving with industry and opportunity for good-paying jobs. We see that once proud homeowners are now two paychecks away from eviction. We see nine rural hospitals that are now closed. We see bridges too weak for a kindergarten school bus to drive on.”

4 Responses to Hall tax repeal prompts letter-writing war between GOP legislators and Democrats

  • Diana Page says:

    Thankfully, Mary Mancini speaks up for the fact that sufficient funds are needed for a well functioning society. Those politicians and others, whose repertoire is limited to the one note of “lower taxes,” are hurting our State, and, sadly, they likely know they are doing so. The Hall tax was the remaining vestige of progressivity in State taxes and applied to those who could best afford to contribute to the organized society from which they have greatly benefited, and which requires funds to sustain and prosper.

    I don’t know how many times we have to learn this lesson. The low taxes of TN do NOT account for our State’s economic growth. Compare us to higher taxed states, and to other low taxed states, as a start. Many elements, unrelated to tax rates, contribute to economic growth. One note politicians and lobbyists, for ideological and other purposes, repeat the same lie over and over.

    A lie repeated often and long enough will seem to be the truth. In my opinion, the lack of sufficient revenue serves to hold our State back in many ways.

    What we want is efficient use of sufficient funds.

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      The left is so good at coming up with nice sounding words in an attempt to camouflage their truly terrible ends and means. Take “progressivity” which is simply a nice sounding way of saying the electoral majority gets to confiscate the earnings of the minority. Leftists are so enthusiastic about that sort of thing because what they are really interested in is power through control of government and they know full well that the majority will never agree to pay the taxes that will support the bloated government of the leftist’s dreams. Their arrogance is simply breathtaking and more than a little frightening. Armed with her electoral power Commissar Page will decide how much the minority can afford “. . .to contribute to the organized society. . .” and she will do this after deciding exactly how many functions the government will take on and how much wealth she will redistribute. It’s precisely that authoritarian mindset that our founding fathers feared as they attempted to protect us with constitutional guarantees against the type of government of Diana Page’s dreams. As a matter of fact, Tennessee recently adopted such a constitutional amendment to prevent us from ever being afflicted with an income tax once and for all – GOOD MOVE!

  • Michael Lottman says:

    Nobody likes taxes just for the joy of it, or for any of the nefarious purposes suggested above. The problem is that there are certain services and accommodations that the vast majority of citizens want and need–like infrastructure and access to healthcare–but our politicians seek to keep us dumb and happy by methodically eliminating sources of revenue, supposedly reducing taxes for all but mainly for the rich, while increasing the cost of living that ordinary people must bear on their own and for everyone else. You know, the sales tax instead of an income tax or the Hall tax on investment income, or the inheritance tax, etc. This charade has gone on in our state for years and it is about to result in a failed state that cannot meet its basic obligations. In the real world, that would be called bankruptcy.

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      I don’t know what state Mr. Lottman lives in but it sounds like conditions there are terrible and I am sorry. In fact, here in Tennessee year after year we run budget surpluses so the conservatives who dominate our state government avail themselves of the opportunity to reduce taxes on those who pay the most taxes. Mr. Lottman apparently lives in a state controlled by liberals who take advantage of every opportunity to confiscate the income of the most productive citizens in order to buy votes from the less productive but that sort of thing is simply not appealing to the majority of voters here in Tennessee. Successful people are lauded in Tennessee rather than demonized, so when deciding which taxes to reduce we seek to reduce or eliminate taxes based on fairness and/or common sense rather than a desire soak the rich. Thus we eliminate the death tax which outrageously taxes wealth that is accumulated from income that already has been subject to tax, or taxes on investment income that falls mainly on those on relatively fixed income and deters the most desirable individuals from settling in this state.

      States dominated by liberals like Illinois flirt with bankruptcy, but here in Tennessee we have very high ratings for financial strength and thus pay low interest on our debt. Our bridges are sturdy and our citizens are relatively healthy considering the unhealthy lifestyle all to many insist on maintaining. Things are fine here in Tennessee, do drop in for a visit sometime.

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