Friday, April 15, 2005

Tennessee again rated as one of the most tax-friendly states

Netscape News' Money & Business section's headline again lists Tennessee as one of the most tax-friendly states. Even with the 1% increase in sales tax (which still burns me), Tennessee still ranks fourth in overall state tax burden, behind three states with income taxes, but no sales taxes. Tennessee, along with Florida and Texas, make the list with sales taxes but no income tax (Tennessee has a tax on investments over a certain level but not on income):

The top most tax-friendly states:
Alaska: 6.4 percent
New Hampshire: 7.4 percent
Delaware: 8.0 percent
Tennessee: 8.3 percent
Alabama: 8.7 percent
South Dakota: 8.8 percent
Florida: 9.2 percent
Texas: 9.3 percent
North Dakota: 9.4 percent
Missouri: 9.4 percent

The top 10 least tax-friendly states:
Maine: 13.0 percent
Washington, D.C.: 12.2 percent
New York: 12.0 percent
Hawaii: 11.5 percent
Rhode Island: 11.4 percent
Wisconsin: 11.4 percent
Vermont: 11.10 percent
Ohio: 11 percent
Nebraska: 10.9 percent
Utah: 10.9 percent

As the slogan used to say, "Tennessee... Sounds Good to Me..." On top of that, the ever-vigilant Bill Hobbs points out that Tennessee, "after eight months of revenue for the current fiscal year, is running a surplus of $32.7 million." It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Will the politicians

  • a) Return the revenue to the local governments, who they stopped funding in 2002?
  • b) Return the money to the taxpayers, in the form of a rebate or a repeal of the sales tax hike?
  • c) Send the money to the schools, since they always say that we are "49th in the country in school spending" (a claim also made by several other states, as pointed out by the Arizona Republic's Vicki Murray)?
  • d) Spend it like kids in a candy shop on their pet projects?
My guess is d.

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