For decades, Tennessee has claimed to be an income tax-free state, even passing a constitutional amendment banning taxes on income. And for decades, this has been a lie – the state has continually taxed income derived from savings, stocks, and bonds since 1929 through its grandfathered-in "Hall Tax." But last year Beacon Center of Tennessee fought back with its comprehensive public awareness and digital advertising campaign called “Tackle the Hall Tax” – exposing the true nature of the tax, which raids seniors' nest eggs and drives business and investment away from Tennessee.
"We were proud to play a role in making Tennessee freer and more prosperous by becoming entirely income tax-free,” said Justin Owen, president and CEO of Beacon Center. “Our ability to secure a repeal of the Hall Income Tax proves that even organizations with small budgets and staffs can still make a big impact. Our friends across the globe face enormous challenges defending freedom and free enterprise. If they are bold, they can achieve great things for their fellow citizens, even without massive budgets or expansive staffs."
The successful repeal of the Hall Tax on the last day of the 2016 legislative session put in motion the gradual decreasing of the tax by one percent per year until finally hitting zero in 2021. Projections estimate savings of over $300 million annually for Tennessee taxpayers once the tax has been completely removed. States with no state income taxes have consistently outperformed their peers in fiscal rankings and have historically enjoyed higher levels of economic freedom, growth, and success. The Tax Foundation predicts that the successful repeal of the Hall Tax will spur a subsequent rise in the state’s tax policy rankings.
Tennessee is now only the second state in history to repeal an income tax – the first being Alaska – and this historical feat can be directly traced to Beacon Center’s campaign, which relied on smart information and an adaptable strategy – becoming the benchmark model that Beacon Center hopes to replicate elsewhere, like in its efforts to expand school choice in Tennessee.
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