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Tax revenues for Tennessee plummet thanks to coronavirus

The Volunteer State is down $700 million from tax revenue, and that is only for the month of April

MEMPHIS, Tennessee —

In Wednesday's Ransom Note: we hear so much about millions, billions, and trillions of dollars these days, it's easy to lose perspective.

COVID-19 is costing Tennessee millions in lost tax revenue, and numbers for April are astounding. We're not shopping as much, so sales tax revenue is down $61 million from budget. We're not driving as much, and gas tax receipts are down $5.6 million. Car registrations are down, costing $10.8 million. We're apparently not smoking as much, which is not such a bad thing, except it cost the state $3.2 million in tobacco tax revenues. Tennessee charges a 15% tax on 'liquor by the drink,' so revenues are down $7.4 million.

All the business taxes, franchise and excise, the so-called Hall Tax, are way down as well. It all adds up to a hit of $693.8 million, remember, that's just for April.

Luckily, our economy was humming along nicely before COVID-19, so the surplus  will ease the pain a little, but the hit is huge and shows all states are going to have their hands out even more in the weeks ahead.

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