By Phil Schoggen

Tennessee is considering a proposal to amend the state Constitution to prohibit any tax on incomes or payroll. This resolution would render the state forever dependent on our sales tax, now one of the highest in the nation.

Buried deep in the proposal is a provision that would skirt the Constitution and abandon traditional procedure by declaring that posting an internet notice of the amendment on the Tennessee Secretary of State's or the Tennessee General Assembly's web site would satisfy the Constitution's requirement for official public notice. In the past this notification requirement has been met by publishing notices in newspapers across the state. The purpose of changing the publication method is to reduce the cost of providing the notice.

The problem with the proposed method of providing public notice is that 35 percent of Tennessee households do not have internet access at home and 25 percent do not have internet access anywhere. Voters and community leaders are accustomed to receiving notice in the traditional manner, in their local newspaper. No one knows how effective such a notice would be if published on the internet only. If the public remains uninformed about such serious change in the method of providing a notice, it amounts to legislative action without public awareness.

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