At the cajoling of senators opposed to a state income tax, a vote on Speaker Jimmy Naifeh’s month-old 4.5% income tax proposal came very near a vote Friday afternoon. However, prior to a vote being taken, a recess was called so that the finance committee could discuss the plan and the alternative “6 and 0” proposal that entails a 6% income tax rate.
Sponsors for the various plans to fix the budget imbalance are jockeying to have their pet idea be the final one considered. The thinking seems to be that the last-minute time pressure nearing the Sunday deadline will increase the odds of the final plan to be considered.
After Sen. Doug Jackson submitted a motion for his CATS II plan (mostly increased sales and excise taxes with a lesser amount of as-yet-undefined spending cuts) to be voted on Sunday, which was later seconded, the meeting adjourned prior to a vote on that motion. Income tax supporters protested that the Dickson Democrat was playing fast and loose with the prospect of shutting down state government by delaying his own bill.
In response, Jackson said that instead of discussing the CATS budget plan the Senate should talk about the income tax proposals.
Yet no one supporting an income tax was interested Friday afternoon in pushing for a vote on an income tax proposal.
Then, Republican David Fowler used a proposed amendment to Jackson’s bill to substitute the guts of the Jackson proposal with the Naifeh 4.5% income tax plan. His effort to get a vote on an income tax – buried in the then-scrapped carcass of the CATS plan – was seconded. However, income tax supporter Jim Kyle said he had been planning all along to discuss the income tax in the finance committee, whereby he made a motion for the finance committee to meet, bringing the scheming of the full Senate to a close for the day.
The Senate Finance Committee was scheduled to meet at 4 p.m. Friday.
The House was meeting in session late Friday afternoon.