The Beacon Center tends to focus on finding free-market solutions to the problems we face here in Tennessee. However, in honor of Thanksgiving, instead of focusing on the problems, I would like to recognize some of the things about Tennessee for which I am sincerely thankful.
Tennessee is Income Tax-Free
While repeal of the Hall Tax would be ideal, which would make Tennessee completely income tax-free, it is important to remember that we have it pretty good right now. There are only 9 states without an income tax, and we are lucky enough to be among them; and with the recent passage of Amendment 3, we can be sure it will stay that way forever. Having previously lived in Virginia, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, it is a great feeling to be able to keep more of my hard-earned money instead of giving it away to the state government to spend inefficiently. I am very thankful Tennessee is income tax-free and will be still more thankful when we repeal the Hall Tax.
Tennessee Will Have No “Death Tax” by 2016
After Beacon successfully helped to pass a bill that repealed the “Death Tax” in 2012, I can rest assured that my family won’t have to pay taxes on my estate once I pass away. There is nothing fair about paying taxes twice for the very same thing, which is exactly what the “Death Tax” is. I am very thankful to live in a state where I can afford to die.
Tennessee is One of the Freest States in the Nation
According to the Mercatus Center’s Freedom in the 50 States, Tennessee is the 3rd freest state in the nation in terms of personal and economic freedoms. Overall, the state of Tennessee ranks in the top 5 nationally in economic freedom, fiscal and tax policy, and labor market freedom. I am thankful that I live in a state that is booming economically because of low regulations and a low tax burden. I am also extremely thankful that I live in a state that offers workers choice and is a right-to-work state.
Tennessee is Awesome
The last reason is less about economic factors and more about the amazing things that Tennessee has to offer. From the BBQ in Memphis to the beautiful Smoky Mountains, Tennessee has it all. Whether you’re in Nashville and want to hear the best live country music in the world just a few blocks away from our office on Broadway or go to a Vols game in Knoxville, I am thankful to live in the great state of Tennessee.
-Mark CunninghamNovember 26th, 2014 | Beacon Blog, Feature, Recent News
A new study finds that Tennessee families will be adversely affected by Governor Bill Haslam’s plan to expand Medicaid.
According to our study, published by Federalism in Action, Medicaid expansion will have several negative economic consequences in the Volunteer State. These include declining personal incomes for Tennesseans, as well as a shrinking of the state’s private sector as a whole. “Policymakers should carefully reconsider Governor Haslam’s proposal to expand Medicaid,” said State Budget Solutions (SBS) CEO J. Scott Moody. “It will put the state’s long-run economic growth on a downward trajectory, resulting in a decline in personal income growth of $3.6 billion.”
Lindsay Boyd, Policy Director of the Beacon Center of Tennessee, also affirms the study’s findings. “Medicaid was a program designed to help address the needs of the poorest among us, but when that same program leads to significant loss of income, puts Tennesseans out of work, and diminishes opportunities to find new jobs, the program has failed,” Boyd asserts.
Here’s a question: If the engine of your car stopped working, what would you do? Would you (a) Take it to a mechanic and get it fixed, or (b) Get a new paint job? While most of us would clearly take our automobiles to be serviced in the event of engine failure, the same basic question is clearly more puzzling for government. What do bureaucrats do when their big-government programs fail? Unfortunately, taxpayers know the answer. As with almost every major government program, government’s go-to solution for addressing failure is to throw more tax dollars at it. But as Albert Einstein so eloquently reminded us, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If this is true, our bureaucrats should all be wearing straight jackets. As we see with the continued erosion of care under the expansion of Medicaid, these sorts of surface repairs keep Americans trapped in a car that might appear desirable, but can’t take us anywhere.
Just consider the current state of our Medicaid program. Many on the left continue to say that every state should expand Medicaid, because it‘s free money, since the federal government is subsidizing it. The complete ignorance of basic economics aside, Medicaid has proven to be a nearly useless form of ”insuring” our nation’s most vulnerable. As the Beacon Center has demonstrated in the past, studies show that those on Medicaid have no better health outcomes than those without insurance at all. When the Obama administration claims to provide healthcare to all Americans, does that not mean access? Or is it only a façade? When a startling one-third of physicians across the country now claim they will not accept new Medicaid enrollees, the patient is left wondering what good this expanded program does them. Weren’t Americans promised quality, affordable health insurance—even to the poorest among us? Instead of applying new coats of paint to a failing program, our government should instead insist on repairing the system with new parts that can cure, rather than perpetually treat, our healthcare crisis.
The first step is acknowledging that there is a problem. While Democrats and some Republicans would rather bury their heads in the sand, the truth is that our most vulnerable citizens aren’t getting the care that they were promised. Instead, government is exasperating the problem with false claims that Medicaid expansion means access to care for millions of poor patients, As with the metaphor of a broken vehicle, we know where this sort of “fix” will lead us: millions of expectant patients wake up to a system that mislead them, keeps them clamoring for access to care, and takes taxpayers nowhere but down a path of socio-economic disaster. Let’s stop expanding a program that doesn’t work with money that we don’t have, and instead pursue real solutions that may actually make substantive differences in peoples’ lives.
-Mark CunninghamNovember 12th, 2014 | Beacon Blog, Feature, Sign Up Now