Rep. Dan Howell told members of the Bradley County Commission on Monday night that the county is set to lose $800,000 in revenue from the phase-out of the Hall Tax on interest and dividend income from investments. But he said, "There is just no stomach in Nashville for keeping the Hall Tax."
He said there is a possibility that Governor Bill Haslam will veto a bill that lowers the percent from six to five percent now and then by a percent a year until it goes away.
He said the governor "is not happy with the bill, but he might not oppose phasing it out over 8-10 years."
Rep. Howell said the first year of the phase-out would cost Bradley County $136,000.
He said a bill raising the hotel/motel tax in Bradley County won approval after those on the fence were told it was "a jobs bill." Proceeds will go to economic development.
Rep. Howell said, "It certainly is not going to hurt the hotels and motels in Bradley County." He said a new LaQuinta is being built along the freeway and another new hotel is in the works. He said he was advised that a Marriott may be built at the I-75 exit that is getting a major new industrial park, and he said still more new lodging places are coming.
The first-term legislator said Bradley County will be getting $705,639 for road improvements from a bill passed after legislators learned the state would have a $1 billion surplus.
He said the initial aim was to use $100 million of that amount for roads throughout the state. The final bill set aside $42 million.
Rep. Howell said Polk County is especially in need of road funds. He said some of the main roads there are still gravel.
Another bill he supported he called "very innovative." It would allow a family with an older family member to secure a portable small home for the individual that could be placed in the back yard and hooked up to utilities.
He said it would be equipped with a video monitor, a blood pressure monitor and other health-related equipment.
It would be about 500 square feet.
Rep. Howell said it would save "a ton of money" over the high cost of nursing home or assisted living care.
Another bill would allow the county to set up a $25 litigation fee in civil court cases with the proceeds to go to the clerk's office.
Still another bill would allow a fee up to $75 to be levied on those who appear in Juvenile Court with the funds to go to the court.
He cited a bill that would allow a member of a volunteer fire department to be able to go on the county's insurance. He said the individual would have to pay for the coverage - not the county.
Rep. Howell, who is seeking re-election, said the state increased funding for education by $223 million, and $104 million goes for teacher raises. He said Governor Haslam has pledged to fully fund the BEP (Better Education Program).
He said $100 million was added to the state Rainy Day Fund, bringing it up to $605 million. He said in 2007 it got down to $250 million.