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Kelsey: State’s financial footing ‘best’ in country

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By Graham Sweeney

Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) was in attendance at Monday night’s Germantown Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting to report that the state is “in the best financial situation in the entire country.”
Board members smiled and nodded as Kelsey told those in attendance that this is the “first time ever” that Tennessee has the lowest tax rate per person, based on individual income, “of any state in the nation.”
Noting that the state has a $1 billion recurring surplus and a $1 billion non-recurring surplus, Kelsey said he has submitted legislation to the 110th Tennessee General Assembly that would shift one half of a cent from sales tax revenue from the state to local municipalities.
“That would be about $500 million,” he said.
Mayor Mike Palazzolo commended Kelsey for trying to “return revenue to the cities where it is produced.”
Kelsey also spoke on future efforts to increase the city’s “take” of the state’s Hall tax by one quarter.
“I have to be honest with you,” he said, “I think it is going to be a tough sell. But I’m happy to try that for you.”
The Hall income tax is imposed on individuals and other entities receiving interest from bonds and notes and dividends from stock. Three-eighths of the revenue goes to the local government where the taxpayer lives.
This year’s state budget reflects lower proceeds from the tax.
Palazzolo expressed gratitude for Kelsey’s efforts to structure legislation that would bring more money to the city.
“We are distressed by this part of the governor’s plan (to phase out the tax),” he added, “because the Hall income tax is basically $3.5 million hole that we would have to make up.”
Germantown received $3.1 million last August.

In related news:
• Germantown resident Mindy Fischer approached the Board to thank the Germantown Police Department for their swift efforts to capture the two suspects involved in the attempted burglary Monday morning.
She said she was on her way to a function at Germantown High School when two men ran in front of her car.
“It turns out they were the suspects,” she said.
She later returned home and asked two officers if they would search her house during the ongoing manhunt.
“They were amazing,” she said. “Things happen in Germantown but we have an amazing response.”
• The January 2017 Youth Excellence Award was presented to Marianne Agee, a senior at Briarcrest Christian School.
A student athlete, she has maintained a 4.58 grade-point average while taking honor classes, playing soccer and lacrosse and serving her community.
For the last two years, she has been committed to raising funds for the Forever Young organization, which works to the wishes of World War II veterans.