KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Income tax cuts initiated by the Bush administration in 2001 lowered rates across the board on income, dividends and capital gains. The bill also lowered taxes on Tennessee's middle class families and the working poor.
The executive director of Tennesseans for Fair Taxation, Elizabeth Wright, says high-earning taxpayers already get a significant tax break, because the Volunteer state relies almost solely on sales tax to fund the government.
"In Tennessee, people making up to $415,000 a year and more only pay about three percent of their income in taxes, whereas in the lowest income bracket, people making $10,000 to $17,000 a year pay almost 12 percent of their income in taxes."
One argument in Congress against raising taxes on the nation's higher earners is the claim that it could stifle small business growth, but Warren says the number of wealthy Tennesseans is very small.
"Ninety-eight percent of small business owners are not going to be affected by extending the tax cuts to the rich. Tennessee is just a microcosm of what's going on there."
President Barack Obama recently proposed extending most of the reductions, allowing only some cuts to expire: those for individuals with incomes of more than $200,000 a year and for families making more than $250,000 a year.