Voters will decide whether to ban income tax - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Voters will decide whether to ban income tax

(WMC-TV) - Voters will have the ultimate say on a state income tax ban in Tennessee. State leaders are one step closer to putting it in the state constitution. They are also closer to lowering the sales tax on groceries.

Tennessee is one of the most business-friendly states in the nation, as ranked by Chief Executive Magazine two years in a row.

One Mid-South leader says the main reason is the tax structure.

"A number of businesses who have cited a lack of an income tax as a major reason for being in Tennessee," said Senator Brian Kelsey, Germantown.

Senator Brian Kelsey is making it his mission to ban a state income tax in Tennessee by putting it in the state constitution. He began the goal in 2011 and has overcome all the hurdles in the legislature. It will finally be up to voters next year.

"Voters will finally get to put a stake in the heart of the income tax on the November 2014 ballot," said Sen. Kelsey. "This has also kept Tennessee in very good fiscal shape. When you look at states like Illinois or California that live by an income tax, they died by an income tax."

Voters can only decide during a gubernatorial election. That is why it will not be on the ballot this year.

In the meantime, lawmakers are also closer to lowering the cost to buy food at the grocery store for the second straight year.

"This goes to show that we can reduce taxes in Tennessee and we can do it without reducing services provided by the state," Kelsey added.

If the tax cut passes it will reduce the state sales tax on groceries one quarter to 5 percent. That is the same drop as last year and it is expected to save Tennessee families $25 million on their food bills each year.

Lower taxes on food and an income tax ban in Tennessee are goals within reach after this legislative session.

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