Posted on October 11, 2004
New laws enacted these last few days of Congress were very good for Tennesseans: · 600,000 Tennesseans who itemize their federal income taxes can now deduct their state and local sales taxes. This will save each taxpayer an average of $470 each year; · The federal government will buy out tobacco allotments from 70,000 Tennesseans, paying them $760 million over the next 10 years. This will get the government completely out of the tobacco business at no cost to the taxpayer; · Taxes on many manufacturing companies will gradually drop from 35 to 32 percent, helping to keep U.S. jobs from going overseas; · $165 million was authorized so the Oak Ridge National Laboratory can lead the effort to help the nation recapture the international lead in high-performance computing; · 2,000 Alcoa jobs and 10,000 acres adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park were protected when Alcoa's hydroelectric licenses were reauthorized for another 40 years; · Approval of support for a pipeline to transport natural gas from Alaska will help bring down natural gas prices, saving thousands of agricultural and industrial jobs and reducing our dependence on foreign sources of natural gas. While all of us in the Tennessee delegation worked hard on these laws, neither the sales tax deduction nor the tobacco buyout could have happened without Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.