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Tennessee lawmakers deadlock on $1.9B franchise tax bill

The House and Senate conference committee in Tennessee are currently deadlocked over a $400 million reform of the franchise tax and $1.5 billion in refunds. The impasse stems from differing opinions on transparency and the length of the rebate period. Governor Bill Lee’s proposal is a significant part of the state budget, with concerns raised about the impact on state revenue.

While Senators argue for privacy and a three-year rebate period, House members are pushing for public disclosure of business names and refund amounts and only a one-year rebate period. The House believes transparency is crucial in determining where taxpayer dollars are going, especially when dealing with such a large sum of money.

The potential financial risk to the state is a key point of contention, with views differing on the necessity of the refunds and their potential impact on the state’s budget. The House believes that offering a $400 million tax cut already makes Tennessee more competitive with other states, while the Senate is more concerned about protecting proprietary taxpayer information.

The Governor opposes the transparency measures, and it is unclear how much his family business would financially benefit from the refunds. The ultimate goal of the reform is to eliminate the property tax measure and ensure that companies receiving rebates waive their right to sue the state over the tax.

Moving forward, the conference committee plans to meet again to further discuss the financial risks and implications of the proposed reform. The House and Senate remain at odds over the key provisions of the bill, with transparency and the length of the rebate period being the primary points of contention.

Overall, the future of the franchise tax reform in Tennessee remains uncertain as House and Senate members continue to negotiate and work towards a compromise that will benefit the state and its taxpayers. Stay tuned for updates on this developing story.

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