Monday, March 29, 2010
Reagan Farr on Liberadio
State Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr said this morning in a light-hearted interview with the hosts of Liberadio, broadcasting on 91.1FM from the VU campus, that while a State Sales Tax Holiday is supported by "my boss," Governor Phil Bredesen, he nonetheless doesn't think it's "great tax policy." Still, he said, if you're going to have one, focusing it on school-related purchases is a good priority; and, it's been "very successful" in helping retailers compete with businesses that lie just across the state line, where sales taxes might be lower. He said Tennessee's sales tax is no longer so much higher than those of most other states, and he thinks there are many items that are now sales tax-exempt that should be reviewed for possible taxation. Addressing the issue of a state income tax, Farr said the Bredesen Administration is on-record as opposed to a State earned-income tax, and he believes that's important to Tennessee's economic-development competitiveness. However, he indicated, conservative budgeting is especially important in the absence of such a tax. In that context, he noted that the Bredesen Administration and the General Assembly have enacted budget cuts in five of the past seven years. Touching quickly on the FONCE dispute that had provoke some venture capitalists and others during the past couple of years, Farr, who won changes in the law he sought, noted that he had been "amazed at the pushback we got" from interest groups. Farr also affirmed he was, indeed, named after the late President Ronald Reagan, because some in his family thought Reagan was "cute." Surprisingly, the subject of TNInvestco was not raised during the interview.