Image Credit: Gov. Bill Lee / Facebook
The Tennessee Conservative Staff –
State officials are refusing to provide information regarding Governor Bill Lee’s decision to include a $1.6 billion tax cut and refund for businesses.
According to Finance Commissioner Jim Bryson, Governor Lee included the tax refunds, plus an additional $400 million recurring franchise tax reform, in the 2025 budget request because of 80 companies who have requested franchise tax refunds from the state.
However, officials will not release the names of those companies. They also will not disclose whether other possible plans for reform were considered before the budget request.
Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti says that his office cannot provide detailed information because of attorney-client privilege. He also stated that there are “really, really strict laws involving the disclosure of any communications related to anything touching on taxes.”
He did confirm to the House Finance, Ways, and Means Committee that the state was not currently the subject of any lawsuits due to the franchise tax, but neither he nor the Department of Revenue would not give any details about potential legal risks to the state.
Revenue Commissioner David Gerregano told The Tennessean that the change was “imperative” and that failing to make the change “could be extremely costly to Tennessee taxpayers.”
Bryson told legislators that it would probably take several years for the whole situation to be resolved and that there could be additional expenditures in the form of state attorney fees and another 12% interest on refunds.
Several legislators asked if there were alternatives considered without cutting revenue in such large amounts.
“When we talked to the AG’s office, they said that this remedy was actually the best remedy that they knew of to get us where we need to be,” Bryson stated.