TAXES

Senator John Stevens believes more money in the pockets of Tennesseans is a good thing that boosts the economy. When government gets out of the way, businesses thrive, jobs are created, and individuals and families are able to prosper. That’s why Senator Stevens has a record of fighting for policies that lower taxes and allow Tennesseans to keep more of their hard earned money. Tennessee has the lowest taxes in the nation as a percentage of personal income, and Senator Stevens in dedicated to maintaining that status.  During his time in the General Assembly, Senator Stevens sponsored and supported laws to:

  • Cut over $600 million in taxes total since 2013
  • Provide $22 million in professional privilege tax cuts
  • Reserve $15 million for future tax cuts
  • Provide over $23 million to decrease sales tax on food
  • Cut taxes on small business that experienced tax inequities
  • Repeal the state’s amusement tax on gym memberships
  • Remove sales tax on agricultural water and exempt agricultural trailers from sales tax
  • Exempt fiber-optic cable from state and local sales and use tax to help efforts to extend broadband access to rural and underserved areas
  • Uphold Tennessee’s business-friendly environment by ensuring Tennessee businesses are not unintentionally overtaxed due to recent changes in the federal tax code
  • Cut sales tax on food by nearly 30 percent
  • Phase out the Hall Income Tax on dividends earned from stocks and bonds
  • Eliminate the gift and inheritance taxes
  • Cut taxes on manufacturing to enhance job creation
  • Provide property tax relief for disabled veterans, the disabled and the elderly

HEALTHCARE

It is important to maintain free-market principles in healthcare to ensure competition keeps prices low and quality care is available. It is not the government’s responsibility to provide healthcare for all its citizens. However, we must also make sure that the most vulnerable among us, children and the disabled, are taken care of and provided necessary medical treatment. Senator Stevens supports improving the healthcare system with innovative solutions that work for all Tennesseans to lower costs and increase quality care. Senator Stevens has supported laws to:

  • Create a Katie Beckett program to help families provide in-home care for the state’s most severely disabled children
  • Request a block grant Medicaid waiver from the federal government to better serve recipients of the state’s TennCare program to allow the state the ability to develop an effective and innovative plan specific to the healthcare needs of all Tennesseans, while lowering costs and increasing access to patient-centered care
  • Enact the Right to shop Act – a consumer-driven program to provide patients with more transparency regarding the cost of healthcare services in their insurance network
  • Encourage the expansion of Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWAs), which is a pool of two or more self-insured employers in the same profession who pool resources and contributions in order to provide their employees with healthcare benefits
  • Call for more transparency in hospital billing practices and require a hospital to provide an estimate to patients regarding out-of-network charges
  • Expand services through the Employment Community First Choices (ECF) program to help individuals with intellectual or developmental disability gain as much independence as possible
  • Provide funding to community faith-based organizations and federally qualified health clinics to provide medical services to uninsured Tennesseans

Second Amendment

Senator Stevens is a passionate defender of the Second Amendment. He believes the right to keep and bear arms is necessary to the security of a free state. It not only allows people to defend themselves but also is a protection against government tyranny. During his time in the Tennessee General Assembly, Senator Stevens has: 

  • Increased access to handgun carry permits for law-abiding citizens by creating a new, more affordable handgun carry permit that reduces burdensome class process 
  • Supported a law to allow persons granted an Order of Protection to immediately carry a handgun as long as they possess a copy of the order with them
  • Sponsored a law to create lifetime handgun carry permits
  • Protected lawful handgun carry permit holders by sponsoring a law to keep local government entities from prohibiting or restricting firearms on local government property unless certain security conditions are met
  • Sponsored a law to ensure law abiding Tennesseans with a carry permit are able to carry a firearm in a city, county and/or municipal park
  • Supported a law to make handgun carry permits more accessible to veterans with specialties in service as military police, special operations, or Special Forces by exempting them from the firing range requirements

Jobs & Economy

With a thriving economy, record low unemployment rates, and low taxes it is no surprise that businesses want to locate in Tennessee. Since 2015, nearly 100,000 new job commitments have come to the state. All of this economic success is no coincidence. It is largely because of Tennessee Republicans’ conservative fiscal leadership focused on low debt and a pro-business environment. Tennessee is proud to be a right-to-work state with no personal income tax on wages.  Our state and local tax burdens are among the lowest in the country, and our state budget operates with a healthy surplus rather than a deficit.  In Tennessee we work hard to ensure good job opportunities are available for hard-working Tennesseans, who are a tremendous asset to our strong economy. Senator Stevens is committed to conservative fiscal management that will maintain Tennessee’s attractive economy to businesses and continue to create jobs.

  • #1 state in the U.S. for advanced industry job growth
  • Triple A bond rating by all major rating services
  • Since Senator Stevens has been in office, investments in Senate District 24 include:
    • $4.6 million by VP Racing Fuels in Huntingdon to create 40 new jobs
    • $3 million by Zline Kitchen and Bath in Carroll County to create 74 new jobs
    • $8 million by Pottery Direct in McKenzie to create 40 new jobs
    • $2.6 million by Revel Enterprises, Inc. in Paris to create 54 new jobs
    • $10 million by MTD Products in Martin to create 200 new jobs
    • $13 million Dong-A USA, Inc. in Weakly County to create 220 new jobs
    • $3.3 million by Escue Wood Treated Products, LLC in Gibson County to create 100 new jobs
    • $300 million by Tyson Foods, Inc. in Humbolt to create over 1,500 new jobs
    • $110 million by Granges in Huntingdon to create 100 new jobs
    • $80 million by Tyson Foods, Inc. in Union City to create more than 300 new jobs
    • $35 million by Bongards’ Creameries in Humboldt to create up to 95 jobs
    • $37 million by Williams Sausage Company in Union City to create 226 new jobs
    • $4.5 million by Jones Plastic and Engineering in Camden to create 52 new jobs
    • $12.6 million by Eurotranciatura USA in Paris to create over 170 new jobs
    • $6.2 million by Institutional Casework Inc. in Obion County to create 200 new jobs

EDUCATION

Senator Stevens believes education is the gateway to a world of opportunity for children, and is committed to improving our public schools and investing in vocational education to prepare students for the workforce. Tennessee has recently made great strides in education and was named the fastest-improving state in the nation on the National Assessment of Educational Progress across math, reading and science. During Senator Stevens time in the General Assembly, Tennessee has overhauled teacher tenure, implemented rigorous academic standards and expanded access to quality school options. Students are outpacing their peers across the country in their academic progress and showing that all students can grow and learn, regardless of their background, race, or socio-economic status. Tennessee students are posting the highest high school graduation rates the state has ever seen. The class of 2018 matched Tennessee’s highest ever graduation rate:  89.1 percent. Also this year, the state’s average ACT score has reached an all-time high at 20.2.

During Senator Stevens’ time in the Senate he has supported legislation that:

  • Has provided a total $537.3 million raise teachers’ salaries
  • Invested a total of $70 million in school safety grants in fiscal years 18/19 and 19/20 to ensure students have a safe learning environment
  • Made higher education more affordable through programs like TN Promise and TN Reconnect that provide two years of free community college or technical school to all Tennesseans
  • Expanded access to career and technical education programs in K-12 schools through the Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education (GIVE) Community Grants
  • Improved the authorization process for charter schools
  • Established a pilot Education Savings Account (ESA) program to serve low-income students zoned to public schools in Metro Nashville and Shelby County
  • Developed work-based learning and apprenticeship opportunities through regional partnerships to increase the number of young adults earning an industry certification and entering a career within one year of high school graduation
  • Increased funding for dual enrollment credits that allow high schoolers to take college courses to earn credits towards their degree
  • Ensured elementary students are receiving adequate physical activity in school
  • Promotes civics education in Tennessee