Tennessee Senate votes for resolution blocking statewide property tax

Published 5:24 pm Thursday, March 28, 2024

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By Jon Styf

The Center Square

The Tennessee Senate on Thursday passed a joint resolution to ban a statewide property tax.

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House Joint Resolution 81 previously passed the House 81-11 and is the first step in a process to put the property tax ban in the Tennessee Constitution. The state doesn’t have a property tax currently but Sen. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains, said it did have one until 1949 before making the property tax 0%, where it has remained.

Niceley said the amendment process would remove the option of the state adding a statewide property tax again in the future in addition to local property taxes.

“The property tax belongs in counties and cities, that’s a local tax,” Niceley said.

The resolution will next have to pass both bodies of the Legislature by a two-thirds margin next year before it would go on a statewide ballot in 2026.

Americans For Prosperity-Tennessee has pushed for the statewide property tax ban.

“Over the next two years, AFP-TN will activate grassroots volunteers and engage in campaigns to educate Tennesseans about the process for amending our state constitution,” AFP-Tennessee State Director Tori Venable said. “We look forward to building off this legislative success and keeping up the momentum to ensure Tennessee constitutionally bans the statewide property tax as we did the income tax.”

Sen. Jeff Yarbro, D-Nashville, said he thinks it is disingenuous for the state Legislature to pretend it doesn’t have a property taxing role because it requires local governments to have local property taxes.