Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Now For A Wet Blanket On The Nissan Deal, Updated Again

In an unprecedented move, the State of Tennessee is using tax dollars to reimburse Nissan (or is that "Ni$$an"?) for its relocation costs, up to $50,000 per position. That welfare program, reports the Tennessean, would give Nissan up to $63.75 million. The Governor's office defends the hand-out by saying that it's the only way Tennessee, a sales-tax state, can compete with states that have income taxes and income tax breaks.

Insult to injury: when Tennessee gives public money to private corporations to relocate, that money is regressively and disproportionately taken (via sales tax) from Tennesseans who can least afford to pay, since we don't have tax reform and a progressive means of generating the revenue to pay for what we want.

Here's an idea: let's compete with the income-tax states by slashing sales-tax rates by more than half, repealing outlawing all sales taxes on food, and coming up with a competitive and pragmatic income tax idea. I keep hearing the state-income-tax opponents tell us that having no income tax in Tennessee sells itself. If it sells Tennessee itself, then why do we need to give $63.75 million to Nissan to relocate? If we have to use incentives other than having no income tax to lure corporations away from income-tax competitors, why do we have to continue to rely on regressive sales taxes to punish the more common Tennesseans who are already here?

11/16/2005, 3:40 p.m. Update: Further comments and debate posted on NashvilleIsTalking.com.

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