published Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signs bills cutting taxes

NASHVILLE — Gov. Bill Haslam signed two tax cuts into law this week, including a reduction in the state sales tax on groceries from 5.25 percent to 5 percent as well as a cut to the state’s Hall Income Tax for seniors ages 65 and older.

The bills are among more than 50 measures the governor signed as he continues to plow through measures passed by state lawmakers that ended April 19.

Among measures signed is a bill that authorizes local schools to allow teachers with law enforcement backgrounds and specialized training go armed in public schools. The bill, sponsored by Criminal Justice Committee Chairman Eric Watson, R-Cleveland, also would allow schools to hire retired police officers and others with specialized law enforcement training to provide an armed presence.

Other measures signed by the governor include a bill by Rep. JoAnne Favors, D-Chattanooga, that triples from $5,000 to $15,000 the criminal fines for persons convicted of assaulting a health care professional during discharge of their duties.

Haslam also put his signature on another bill by Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, and Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah, that allows juvenile court clerks to withhold funds within a trust established for a minor under to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act to pay court costs, fines, fees, or restitutions resulting from the minor’s actions pending in juvenile court.

Lawmakers sponsored the bill at the request of local officials.

The Hall Income Tax measure raises income exemption levels for those 65 and over from $26,200 to $33,000 for single filers and from $37,000 to $59,000 for joint filers.

The Hall tax is imposed on income from interest on bonds and stock dividends.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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