Beacon Releases “Tennessee is Open for Business” Policy Agenda

January 17, 2020 11:51AM

Today, Beacon Impact, the 501(c)(4) advocacy partner of the Beacon Center of Tennessee, released its 2020 legislative agenda, under the theme of “Tennessee is Open for Business.” These reforms will add to Tennessee’s flourishing state economy by cementing worker freedom in the state Constitution, protecting local taxpayers from unexpected property tax increases without a referendum, making it easier for workers and consumers to do business in the state by recognizing occupational licenses from other states, and protecting the fundamental rights of property owners across the state. Below are the policies that Beacon Impact will advocate for in the state legislature during the 2020 legislative session.

Cementing “Right to Work” in the State Constitution

Tennessee’s Right to Work law has been one of the prominent drivers of the state’s booming economy, and it is important to protect workers’ freedom to choose whether or not to join a union and pay union dues. Placing Right to Work in the Tennessee Constitution would ensure worker freedom is always protected. Beacon will actively support the proposed constitutional amendment to place Right to Work on the ballot so that voters can decide if they want to add this law to the Constitution.

Property Tax Cap

Tennessee is one of only four states in the entire country without any cap on property taxes, which has led to substantial increases in property taxes in cities and counties around the state. In 2019 alone, there were more than $208 million in proposed or adopted property tax increases in the state. Beacon believes that local taxpayers have the right to vote on large proposed property tax increases. Beacon’s proposal still gives local governments the ability to raise property taxes, but any proposal above inflation plus two percent in a single year must be voted on by local taxpayers.

Occupational Licensing Reciprocity

Beacon will look to fight overregulation and red tape when it comes to licensing, especially in lower and middle-income professions. Beacon will work to recognize occupational licenses of those moving into Tennessee as long as they have been in good standing for at least a year, through the Licensing Independence for Future Tennesseans (LIFT) Act.

Permit Freedom

Beacon will advocate for making the local permitting process for property owners and businesses more transparent, timely, and clear. Oftentimes permit requirements on individuals are vague and lack a set timetable for governments to approve or deny permits. Beacon will work to make this process more fair to Tennesseans going through the local permitting process.

“Tennessee has a strong economy, but we must ensure that it remains that way with these sensible reforms,” said Beacon Impact CEO Justin Owen. “By protecting worker freedoms and property rights, we can build upon that success and keep Tennessee open for business for years to come.”