Tennessee Governor Signs Bill Shrinking Tax On Investments For Seniors

Gov. Haslam acknowledges it's easier to cut taxes when the economy's on the mend, saying it takes a balancing act amid steady calls to trim taxes further. Photo via Gov. Haslam's flickr

Gov. Haslam acknowledges it’s easier to cut taxes when the economy’s on the mend, saying it takes a balancing act amid steady calls to trim taxes further. Photo via Gov. Haslam’s flickr

Governor Bill Haslam is touting a tax cut for seniors who get tens of thousands of dollars a year from investments, signing a bill Tuesday to cut the Hall Income Tax.  He says the move will make Tennessee a more inviting place for wealthy retirees.

Haslam technically signed the bill two weeks ago, but saved the ceremony for a stop east of Knoxville, in Fairfield Glade, a retirement area that’s as much golf course as neighborhood.

For seniors who file jointly, the measure would exempt interest or dividends for those earning up to nearly $60 thousand.  Asked if cutting taxes could end up hobbling state revenue if the economy slumps, Haslam said he thinks the move will pay off by luring in wealthy seniors:

“The sliver of folks that we’re looking at, I think that can encourage more people to retire here.”

The new exemption is expected to save money for almost three thousand single filers and about 45 hundred joint filers.

From the estimate used by the state legislature (PDF):

According to the Department of Revenue (DOR), increasing the maximum allowable exemption for single filers by $6,800 ($33,000 – $26,200), and for joint filers by $22,000 ($59,000 – $37,000), would impact approximately 2,851 single filers and approximately 4,550 joint filers, and would result in a recurring decrease in HIT revenue of approximately $2,274,286, beginning in FY13-14. The Fiscal Review Committee staff does not have access to the data and information upon which this calculation is based and cannot independently verify its accuracy.

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