Beacon Center comments on state's high sales tax

September 28, 2011 10:40AM

In an interview with the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Beacon Center’s Justin Owen calls for a reduced sales tax burden by cutting wasteful government spending, but at the same time warns against attempts to replace the current sales tax with a state income tax.

Beacon Center of Tennessee Executive Director Justin Owen countered that, saying, “I certainly think it’s good that we rely heavily on a sales tax instead of an income tax or other types of taxes.” Dismissing the idea of a general state income tax, Owen said, “first of all, you shouldn’t tax people for generating economic growth and wealth and taxing productivity.”  A sales tax on consumption is “more even-keeled,” he said. Still, Owen said, officials “may come to some agreement on the sales tax on food. That hits low income and seniors harder. We think we could lower the sales tax on food — if we cut and are not simply shifting taxation.” Tennessee should look at cutting waste, fraud and abuse, reducing the size of state government or turning some functions over to the private sector, he said.

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