Sees the priority as “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs”
Nashville, Tenn. – State Senator Mark Green, MD (R-Clarksville) today released his legislative priorities for the 2015 legislative session, including three major proposals aimed at creating jobs in Tennessee. The announcement comes after the General Assembly completed their organization session, during which Green was appointed 1st Vice-Chairman of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee.
“Tennessee has been aggressively working to do a lot of things right,” said Senator Green. “With the influx of new Tennesseans seeking our state as their home, the demand for jobs is critical, and we must make sure government creates the climate to allow businesses to keep pace.”
Tennessee rates seventh in the nation in “Absolute Domestic Migration” with an influx of almost 283,000 new residents over the last decade, according to the 2014 Edition of Rich States, Poor States. Coupled with the 190,000 jobs created in the state, Green said the math demonstrates the need for a robust labor market.
“It seems our success is our challenge,” noted Green. “Perhaps the in migration explains why Tennessee’s unemployment rate remains nearly a point higher than the national average. Our growth rate for jobs in 2014 of 1.89 percent, as reported by the Pew Research Center, is great, but with fourteen states exceeding 2.0 percent, we can do more.”
“Tennessee’s state government has to ensure that our working population keeps more of its hard-earned money; those who save and invest are not penalized; that businesses find a regulatory environment that encourages innovation, competition, and investment; and that our state budget is balanced and funds those essential services appropriate to state government,” Green added.
To address those concerns, Green is sponsoring legislation calling for a gradual elimination of the tax on investment income, a proposal to provide a Workers’ Compensation “Opt-Out” Program for businesses that self-fund, and a measure reforming Tennessee’s franchise and excise tax.
“The Hall Income Tax penalizes those who save and invest, and stops entrepreneurial investment in Tennessee,” said Green. “The Hall Tax kills jobs and it’s time we kill the Hall Income Tax.”
Green said the proposal calling for a Workers’ Compensation “Opt-Out” Program would be tailored specifically to Tennessee in order to drive down the cost, while creating more competition. “With these savings business can reinvest, create more jobs and add to employee benefits,” he said.
On the legislation to reform Tennessee’s franchise and excise taxes, Green said the current formula penalizes Tennessee businesses that grow, adding taxes for new payroll and new property investments. “That makes no sense,” he said. “Tennessee’s formula is antiquated. Only two of our surrounding states still rely on the same type formula and they plan to pass a single sales factor for their franchise and excise taxes this year. Changing to a single sales factor will incentivize Tennessee business to grow inside Tennessee, creating more jobs for Tennesseans.”
“Government does not create jobs, but good, accountable government creates an environment that attracts and encourages businesses to grow and expand. There are still too many Tennesseans unemployed and underemployed. It is my number one priority to help correct this,” Green concluded.
Senator Mark Green, MD represents Montgomery and Stewart counties and part of Houston County. As a practicing physician, Green is president and CEO of Align MD (www.alignmd.com), an emergency department staffing company based in Clarksville, TN, which provides leadership, management and staffing to emergency departments in four southeastern states.