Haslam wants to keep corporate tax breaks secret - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Haslam wants to keep corporate tax breaks secret

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam wants to keep the tax deals the state makes with businesses a secret. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam wants to keep the tax deals the state makes with businesses a secret.

(WMC-TV) - Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam wants to collect more information from businesses before the state offers any incentives, but some information about those companies would not be available to the public.

Haslam hopes to bring more business to the state, but an effort to make what is now public information private is meeting opposition.

Haslam can't introduce legislation, but Sen. Mark Norris, of Memphis, can.

Norris sponsored Senate Bill 2207 which would allow the state to keep business negotiations with private companies confidential.

But some of those negotiations include taxpayer funded incentives that make setting up shop in Tennessee more attractive.

"In a time where everyone is talking about more transparency in government, why are we going in the other direction," asked Yvonne Burton, of the Mid-South Tea Party.

Burton is concerned that taxpayers won't know how much of their money is at stake until it's too late to voice concerns.

"How do we know what they're doing and these are taxpayer funds," she said. "We deserve transparency."

The governor wants to keep those records from competitors and avoid a bidding war between states for their business.

Opponents understand the importance of bringing new business to Tennessee but say taxpayer funded ventures should not be done at the expense of a taxpayer's right to know.

A vote on the bill by the full Senate was delayed Thursday.

Both the House and Senate take up the issue on February 23.

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