In 2016, the Beacon Center of Tennessee identified the elimination of the Hall Income Tax as a top policy priority. The Hall Tax was instituted in 1929 and applied a six percent tax to Tennesseans’ interest and dividend income. The Hall Tax had long existed as an “asterisk” to Tennessee’s proud claim to be income tax-free.

The repeal of this tax was due in large part to the aggressive campaign by Beacon and our friends at the Zoldak Agency. Together, we prepared an EndTheHallTax.com micro-site and produced video advertisements including a 45-second video, “Tackle the Hall Tax,” which was viewed 1.8 million times.

In just a few short weeks, 4,500 people signed the petition to end the Hall Tax and over 75,000 total emails reached the inboxes of Tennessee legislators. Simultaneously, Beacon delivered a video message directly to lawmakers inside the Capitol building showcasing why taxing and punishing savings was not the “Tennessee Way.”.

On top of the digital campaign, Beacon earned its highest earned media numbers to date when state and national outlets—like the Chattanooga Times Free PressTennesseanDaily Signal, and Forbes—picked up the story. Beacon was recognized on a worldwide scale when we were nominated for the Atlas Network Templeton Freedom Award for our work on this issue. Beacon and the Zoldak Agency also won two national awards, a Pollie and a Reed Award, for the effort.

On the last day of that year’s legislative session, April 22nd, Tennessee lawmakers enacted a six-year phase-out of the Hall Tax. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Bill Haslam on May 13, 2016. With the elimination of the Hall Tax on January 1, 2021, Tennessee will become only the second state in history to repeal an income tax. The repeal will save Tennessee taxpayers more than $350 million every single year. We are proud to have been part of this historic effort! 

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Case study by the Atlas Network