Knoxville News Sentinel Nashville Bureau Chief Tom Humphrey reports:
“Zach Wamp suggested in a gubernatorial candidate forum Tuesday that ‘the same sort of logic’ Bill Haslam used to support a property tax increase as mayor of Knoxville could lead him to support a state income tax if elected as governor.
‘When the mayor of Knoxville became mayor, he said his predecessor left him in an awkward position and he just had to raise taxes,’ said Wamp in his opening remarks at a telephone conference call with members of the National Federation of Independent Business.
‘We’re going to be in an awkward position next January when the stimulus money evaportates… is the same kind of logic going to be used next year that, ‘Oh, we’re just going to have to raise taxes?’
“Even the thought of a state income tax is going to be on the table, I think, if Bill Haslam becomes our governor,’ said Wamp.
The congressman said members of the Haslam family had in past years supported efforts to enact an income tax in Tennessee and ‘this is a concern’ for the future.
‘I can see a scenario where they would say, ‘Well, we just don’t have any choice; we’re just going to have to go ahead and push through a state income tax.’
Haslam made an opening statement to the conference prior to Wamp’s statement, then left, leaving Will Cromer, his campaign policy director, in his place to speak on his behalf.
Cromer dismissed the scenario, noting that Haslam is ‘100% opposed’ to a state income tax and has vowed to balance the state’s budget through cuts rather than any tax increase.”