Governor Lee Voices Opposition To House GOP’s “Non-Negotiable” Franchise Tax Transparency Measure

Image Credit: Gov. Bill Lee / Facebook

The Tennessee Conservative [By Adelia Kirchner] –

As the General Assembly’s attempt at a franchise tax repeal and rebate for the State of Tennessee awaits a compromise via conference committee, Gov. Bill Lee (R-TN) has voiced his opposition to the House version of the legislation.

House Bill 1893 (HB1893), sponsored by Rep. William Lamberth (R-Portland-District 44), is a franchise tax reduction expected to cost Tennessee $700 million in refunds and $400 million annually.

This legislation would allow businesses to request a one-year refund of a franchise tax which according to some state officials has to be done in order to avoid a costly lawsuit against the state. 


Additionally, HB1893 contains a “transparency clause” which would require the state to provide the public with a list of the businesses benefiting from this refund, as well as the refund amount. 

Supporters of the House franchise tax bill believe the legislation offers more transparency to the taxpaying public than its corresponding Senate bill, SB2103, which would cost about $1.5 billion in refunds in addition to $400 million annually.At this point, both the Senate and the House have passed their respective versions of the franchise tax bill and a conference committee has been appointed to negotiate the differences and create one cohesive piece of legislation.

On Monday, Gov. Lee chimed in on the situation saying that a public list of companies like what the House transparency clause requires would be “unprecedented.”

“I can’t speak to how they will determine the final version, but I think that we shouldn’t be taking private information of individual or companies tax information that the government has and making it public,” said Gov. Lee.


Gov. Lee’s Administration initially proposed this legislation as a “needed change” to keep Tennessee an “attractive” tax environment for businesses, yet it seems the governor takes issue with the one aspect of the bill that could offer Tennesseans some level of transparency. 

“We have some of the largest companies in the world making decisions to invest here, and part of that is our tax structure,” said Gov. Lee. “We’re trying to maintain that tax environment that makes us one of the best states to do business.”

Throughout the state legislature’s consideration of the franchise tax bill, critics have taken issue with the potential benefits Gov. Lee might receive to his private company. 

House lawmakers still maintain that Tennessee’s taxpaying individuals deserve to know basic information about which companies are receiving these large tax refunds, especially since all other tax information would remain private.

Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville-District 25) previously stated that the transparency clause is “non-negotiable” for House lawmakers. 

About the Author: Adelia Kirchner is a Tennessee resident and reporter for the Tennessee Conservative. Currently the host of Subtle Rampage Podcast, she has also worked for the South Dakota State Legislature and interned for Senator Bill Hagerty’s Office in Nashville, Tennessee. 

You can reach Adelia at

2 thoughts on “Governor Lee Voices Opposition To House GOP’s “Non-Negotiable” Franchise Tax Transparency Measure

  • April 23, 2024 at 4:02 pm

    Several interesting facets of these bills and political motives….first the franchise and excise tax should be totally repealed from this point on, but a refund? I appreciate both the governor and the legislature’s efforts. As a 37 year, corporate business owner and franchise and excise tax payer, I wouldn’t expect a refund, but I’d be happy to not have to apply and pay for this ridiculous tax from now on! But, to answer the gov’s concerns…a corporation in the state of Tennessee would NOT be “required” to request a refund if they desire to remain anonymous. The legislature should not play games here, just simply get this done with the least amount of pain to the owner’s of this money. The legislature needs to remember THIS IS NOT STATE money but corporate tax payer money that the state ‘confiscated’, then they just might make the right decision. It’s IGNORANT to say that this will ‘cost’ the state a dime! It is NOT their money! In my opinion they confiscated it and it belongs to the corporations! But, one does have to wonder, if the governor is now throwing stones at a legislature that failed to pass his ‘top’ legislation initiative – the Education Freedom (for some) Act!


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