Since Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam proposed reducing the state’s estate tax in February, Tennessee lawmakers have shown increasing interest in this idea. Recently, a House subcommittee one-upped the governor by approving a bill that would gradually repeal the tax outright. House Speaker Beth Harwell explained this move by noting that “[w]e know this tax drives people, capital and jobs out of the state.”1 As evidence of this claim, a number of observers (including the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board) have approvingly cited a recent report, coauthored by Arthur Laffer and Wayne Winegarden, which asserts that Tennessee’s estate tax has singlehandedly cost the state as many as 220,000 jobs.2 However, the Laffer/Winegarden report is severely flawed, and fails to provide any evidence for this dramatic claim. This brief explains the shortcomings in the Laffer/Winegarden analysis.
See the Special “Debunking Laffer” Landing Page