The Most Famous Game ... Tennessee Tax Style!

I have this game that I play with my friends called Most Famous. Many of them love it. Some of them hate it, but it is always interesting. The game came out of my desire that my son, the brother of two sisters, would know some dude stuff and wouldn’t get to middle school and not be able to hang with the guys. It goes like this …

Most Famous Monster Truck? – Big Foot (Said with a real deep voice!)

Most Famous Wrestler? – Hulk Hogan

Most Famous Basketball Player? – Michael Jordan

Most Famous Boxer? – Rocky Balboa (This is where people usually get a little miffed, because they think it is Muhammed Ali, and a good case can be made that Ali is the right answer, but it’s still Rocky Balboa.)

As you can see I’m cursed with knowing all the right answers. Most Famous Hockey Player – Wayne Gretzy; Most Famous Football Player – Peyton Manning. The list goes on and on. Most Famous Song – Happy Birthday; Most Famous Movie – Star Wars. You get the Picture.

So now we get to the Tennessee tax portion of this post. Most Famous Tennessee Tax Personality?

No it’s not you Loren ... No offense, and it is not Estes Kefauver, who had a short stint as the Commissioner of Revenue under Governor Prentice Cooper before he launched his political career succeeding to a Congressional seat when Congressman Sam McReynolds of Tennessee’s 3rd district (Chattanooga) died in 1939. That would have been a good guess!

Joe Huddleston would be a good guess as well. He was the Commissioner of Revenue from 1987 to 1995 under Governor Ned Ray McWherter and later served as the Executive Director of the Multistate Tax Commission for 10 years before recently joining E&Y as an executive director.

Reagan Farr … Nope.

David Gerregano ... Too soon.

Senator Douglas Henry? Longest-serving member of the Tennessee legislature and long-time Chair of Senate Finance Committee and the Business Tax Study Committee. He was named Chairman emeritus in 2007 and was always an avid participant on the development of Tennessee’s tax code. We're getting close.

Former-Governor Don Sundquist? He proposed a state income tax, so most Tennesseans would consider him the most infamous Tennessee tax personality … especially all those horn honkers who surrounded the capital back in the early 2000s. Governor Sundquist’s efforts failed, and the sales tax was raised to 7%, and the rest is history.

The Answer … Senator Frank S. Hall, the state senator who sponsored and was the namesake for the “Hall Income Tax” – Tennessee’s income tax on income from interest and dividends. The tax is a privilege tax and not a property tax according to Shields v. Williams, 159 Tenn. 349 (1929). Mac Davis at Waller Lansden has some specific thoughts on this topic...

This "Most Famous" answer is relevant this year based on the 2017 Legislature’s adoption of a phase out of the Hall income tax, so Senator Hall’s reign over the Most Famous Game could come to an end in 2021 when the Legislature’s full repeal of the Hall Income Tax takes effect. Until then … Senator Hall is the MOST FAMOUS TENNESSEE TAX PERSONALITY!