The ban on state income tax is one step closer to becoming a constitutional amendment.
Thursday morning, the Tennessee House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the measure.
Whether it becomes law will ultimately be up to voters in 2014, but some legislators wonder if the amendment is really necessary.
Sherry Jones, a Democrat who represents part of Davidson County, said, “There's not going to be an income tax in Tennessee. We know that, we've dealt with it ten years ago, but it's something the Republicans keeping bringing up.”
Jones added, “It's just politics as usual, and it's just silly stuff.”
Republican House Speaker, Beth Harwell told Nashville's News 2 it's just an extra measure to make sure Tennesseans are protected.
“We have members on the Republican side who felt really strongly, we need to make sure it's in our state constitution, and there's never any question in the future,” Harwell said.
When former Governor Don Sundquist brought up the idea of a state income tax in 1999, Tennessee voters responded like never before, making their voices heard at the capitol.
The sounds of disapproval were heard loud and clear and the idea was shot down, which is why Jones believes this constitutional amendment is unnecessary.
“It's just politics,” said Jones. “The Republican party wants to have something they can use against Democrats when they run.”
Representative Sheila Butt, a Republican, said, “This is just us saying, let the will of the people decide,” and added. “That gives businesses some consistency when making a decision as to whether to come to this state.”
In next year's general assembly, both chambers will have to approve the constitutional amendment by a two-thirds majority.
Then, it will be up to Tennessee voters to approve the amendment during the 2014 gubernatorial election.
If the amendment is passed, Tennesseans would then have to vote to repeal the amendment before any changes to the state income tax law could be made.
- March 9, 2011: Senate OKs measure to ban Tenn. income tax