Sunday, March 02, 2003

A New Strategy Emerges

The Commercial Appeal makes no bones that they support the income tax. They use every opportunity to bring it up. Bredesen's seriousness in pursuing State spending cutbacks baffles them and they counter it by reminding us that the largest tax increase in State history wasn't enough. For them, this means tax increase, where most regular folks (and I'll include Bredesen here) see that spending is the problem.

Most of the CA's coverage of Bredesen's spending cuts has been back-of-the-Metro section -- deep, deep in the back -- Associated Press or Knoxville News-Sentinel stories. There's something odd about that hands-off approach as they have Richard Locker in Nashville supposedly to cover just this sort of thing.

Well, Locker returns and it seems he's unveiling a new strategy by the CA to move an income tax forward. Read the following and see if you catch the drift:
A state takeover of all proceeds from the little-known income tax - yes, Tennessee has one, but it's levied only on interest and dividends instead of wages and salaries - would mostly affect the state's biggest and most affluent cities.

Under state law, five-eighths, or 62.5 cents of every dollar in the tax's proceeds, flows to the state and the other three-eighths, or 37.5 cents, flows to the city where the taxpayer lives, or the county if he lives in an unincorporated area....

Enacted in 1929, on the cusp of the Great Depression, the income tax applies a 6 percent levy against the dividends and interest that are subject to the tax, above the first $1,250 for individual filers and $2,500 for joint filers.

People over age 65 whose total income is below $16,200 for individuals and $27,000 for couples are exempt.
You're surprised that we have an income tax? Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

That's because most of us already know it quite well as the Hall tax. So why do we get this entry-level primer on a seventy-year old invesment tax? Locker seems to be trying to spin the Hall tax as the State's already-enacted income tax. What this article seems to be doing is setting the stage. The next step, of course, will be to leverage this spin-tax into a broad-based income tax for everyone.

Go read the whole thing and keep it in mind over the next month or so. I have a feeling this is deliberate.

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