Sargent recognized for his work to lower taxes in Tennessee
By Carole Robinson, Staff Writer
State Rep. Charles Sargent was recently recognized by a local and a national organization for his dedication to limited government and lower taxes.
The Nashville Chamber of Commerce named Sargent the 2012 Friend of Business and the American Family Business Institute, headquartered in Washington D.C., recognized him as the 2012 recipient of the “Champion of American Family Business” award.
The awards were presented in recognition of Sargent’s legislative work last year to repeal the gift tax and begin phasing out the Inheritance Tax, often called the Death Tax, which will take four years for it to completely disappear.
“I am very proud of the awards and the work I did to get these bills passed,” said Sargent, who is chairman of the powerful House Finance, Ways and Means Committee and made the two initiatives a priority in 2012.
“I want to thank Speaker [Beth] Harwell and Gov. [Bill] Haslam for their support and guidance throughout the process. They were great supporters of the bills.”
Sargent also worked with Dr. Arthur Laffer, an economist who worked under Pres. Ronald Reagan.
Although the death tax won’t be fully repealed until 2016, in 2013 the amount taxed will begin at $2.5 million, in 2014 it will be $2 million, in 2015 to $5 million and in 2016 it will be gone, Sargent said.
“With both the gift and death taxes, we knew Tennesseans have already been taxed on that money – they shouldn’t have to be taxed a second time,” he said. “I was honored to usher both through the House.”
All together, in 2012 Sargent championed the repeal of almost $100 million in taxes for Tennesseans.
With the opening of the 108th General Assembly last week, Sargent is not sitting on his laurels of last year. This year he will be working on decreasing the Hall’s Income Tax, which taxes investment interest and dividends of $2,500 at 6 percent and above and is the only income tax in Tennessee.
“The Hall’s Income Tax hits a lot of retired people on their investments,” Sargent explained.
At issue with the tax – 37 percent of the revenue it raises goes directly back to the cities and counties from which it came based on the amount of taxes paid in the areas. Loosing that revenue could make it necessary for those areas to raise property taxes.
“We are working on holding them harmless so Franklin, Brentwood and Williamson County governments wouldn’t have to raise property taxes,” Sargent said. “They will receive funds at the level that are presently receiving.”
Last year more than 100,000 people paid the Hall’s Income Tax – many of those people live here in Williamson County and through the tax provide Williamson County government with almost $1 million dollars in revenue. Franklin, Brentwood and other cities within the county also receive a piece of the pie.
Sargent is also working on several local bills such as a strip search bill for the Sheriffs Department which will give the sheriff the ability to decide who should be searched when they are brought into the jail. Currently deputies may only strip search felons.
“I pledged to do my part to ensure Tennessee is the most business-friendly, economically prosperous state in the nation,” Sargent said.
Last year’s bills were just the beginning.
Posted on: 1/17/2013