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Article published January 12, 2013
Tenn. not a tax Eden
Rick Schnur Butler
In a Jan. 4 letter to the editor, Thomas V. Cook of Jefferson Township said Tennessee is looking good — that he wonders why Pennsylvania still has a population. Before everyone packs up and moves to Tennessee, they should check out that state’s taxes. Tennessee has more than 20 different taxes. The state sales tax is 7 percent, plus each postal district has an additional sales tax of 1.5 percent to 2.75 percent. Liquor by the drink is taxed at 15 percent. Beer is taxed at 17 percent. There is an individual income tax of 6 percent, but it only is on all interest and dividends. All professionals, such as accountants, doctors and landscapers, pay $400 per year. Professional athletes, who can easily afford it, pay $7,500 per year if they play three games in Tennessee. Pennsylvania sales tax does not apply to clothing and food at grocery stores. Tennessee’s sales tax is on everything. Grove City Premium Outlets was built near Interstates 79 and 80 because it can draw many shoppers from Ohio, New York and Canada, who flock there to save on sales tax by buying in Pennsylvania. I have worked or lived in more than 15 different states, and I find, overall, Pennsylvania’s taxes to be among the lowest in the country. Many states have an income tax higher than 6 percent, while Pennsylvania’s is only 3.07 percent. I spent two years in the Army stationed in Tennessee.