The first session of the 110th General Assembly came to a close on May 10th, featuring movement on several pieces of legislation important to the business community.
Among these was passage of the IMPROVE Act, the Governor’s proposal to provide a dedicated source of funding to improve the state’s transportation related infrastructure.
The Greater Memphis Chamber supported this proposal not only because of the tremendous investment it brings directly to Memphis, but also because of the tax reductions it provides to companies who bring advanced manufacturing jobs to our community. And, to top it off, the legislation constituted the largest tax cut in Tennessee’s history.
Prior to the vote, members of the Chairman’s Circle and Board of Directors joined the Chamber’s policy team on visits to Nashville to share support for this important legislation.
The components of the legislation included a modest increase in the taxes on gas and diesel fuel that will be dedicated exclusively to improving Tennessee’s roads and was accompanied by a reduction in the grocery tax and the Hall income tax.
What does this mean for our city and for your business?
As you know, many of our roads and bridges have not been adequately maintained, resulting in congestion, delays, accidents, and damage to goods in transit. The IMPROVE Act will fund projects to reduce this congestion and improve our transportation infrastructure. As the projects advance, you will see the benefits throughout our community—around your businesses and throughout your neighborhoods. The Tennessee Department of Transportation has released a list of projects which will be funded with IMPROVE Act dollars, including eighteen projects in Shelby County that will inject an additional $570 million into our infrastructure over the next 15 years. Among these projects are the long-awaited improvements to Lamar Avenue, a key freight corridor and critical link in the national and global supply chain.
The legislation also included a change to the current tax structure for advanced manufacturers that will make Tennessee more competitive with surrounding states when it comes to attracting good paying advanced manufacturing jobs. Our economic development team works hard to attract more jobs and investment to Memphis, and this will provide them with an additional tool to do so. More companies here means more customers for our existing businesses, lowering the cost of doing business here for everyone.
If you would like to learn more about the IMPROVE Act, please contact Kelly Rayne, SVP for Public Policy, at firstname.lastname@example.org.