Alexander, Corker Hail Legislation Making State Sales Tax Deductibility Permanent

Say Bill Would Establish Fairer Tax Treatment of Tennesseans

Posted on October 25, 2007

U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Bob Corker (R-TN) today joined Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) in reintroducing a bill to make the state sales tax deduction permanent. "Making state sales taxes deductible will put more than $400 in the pockets of nearly 600,000 Tennesseans who itemize their taxes this year," said Alexander. "Doing so permanently is an issue of fairness for Tennesseans.” “This is a simple matter of tax fairness and common sense,” said Corker. “Tennessee is fortunate not to have a state income tax, but Tennesseans should not be penalized for this on their federal tax returns. Making the state sales tax deduction permanent keeps more money in the pockets of hard-working families and it’s the right thing to do.” Alexander and Corker said losing this deduction – which is set to expire at the end of this year if Congress does not act – would cost Tennesseans more than $200 million. Tennesseans don’t pay a state income tax on wages. In order to be treated fairly with other states whose residents are allowed to deduct their state income taxes from their federal income taxes, Alexander and Corker said Tennesseans should be able to deduct their sales tax payments. Nationwide, state and local sales tax collections account for about a quarter of total state tax revenue, which is about the same as property taxes and income taxes. But the current provision allowing Americans to deduct state and local sales taxes from their federal income tax return is not permanent. Under the leadership of Senators Alexander and Bill Frist (R-TN), Congress passed a tax relief bill in 2004 permitting sales tax deduction for two years. Congress extended the deduction for another two years in 2005. Tennessee is not the only state that would be unfairly impacted by expiration of the sales tax deduction. Seven states – Alaska, Texas, Florida, Wyoming, Washington, South Dakota, and Nevada – do not have a state income tax. Two states – Tennessee and New Hampshire – only impose an income tax on interest and dividends, but not wages. On January 4, 2007, the first day of the 110th Congress, Alexander and Corker joined Hutchison in introducing legislation to provide a permanent state sales tax deduction. The Senators reintroduced this bill today in hopes of getting quicker action on the Senate floor.