Republicans rip governor on proposed tax increase

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 at 11:08am

House Republican leaders joined Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey Wednesday in denouncing Gov. Phil Bredesen's latest proposed tax increase as legislative leaders held private meetings to find ways to balance the state budget.

The House Republican Caucus leadership called on Bredesen to stop proposing new tax increases as a way to balance the budget. Last week, Bredesen outlined a plan to raise $85 million by lifting the sales tax cap on purchases of more than $3,200. That would raise the tax on those items from 7 percent to 9.75 percent.

"The governor is showing a blatant disregard for the challenges small business owners and average Tennesseans face," said House Majority Leader Jason Mumpower. "As the economy is struggling mightily, this would do nothing but provide a setback for recession-weary Tennesseans."

"Tennesseans are tired of hearing the Bredesen administration telling them this simply 'closes a loophole' or 'streamlines' the tax structure. The bottom line is that this proposal is an $85 million tax increase on hardworking Tennesseans," said House Republican caucus chairman Glen Casada. "Small businesses can and will be the driving force behind economic recovery, so we cannot put them in the cross hairs of this massive tax increase."

Ramsey vowed last week to reject the tax increase. Senate Republicans are discussing an alternative plan that uses spending cuts to balance the budget. Bredesen challenged Republicans Tuesday to offer their proposal.

"My question is for anybody, ‘OK, what’s your solution?’ It may well be one that I’d be perfectly comfortable with," Bredesen said. "But this is the point where the legislature has got to stop saying, ‘I don’t like this and I don’t like this and I don’t like this’ and come forward with what it is they want to do to solve the problem if it’s something different than what I’ve proposed."

20 Comments on this post:

By: PromosFriend on 4/21/10 at 9:40

Bredesen did go too far in his proposal to raise uncap the sales tax on large purchases (except for cars, homes, etc.). That pill would be much easier to swallow if it were just a small raise in the cap to say, $5,000, and if it included a sunset clause. I applaud the opposition for fighting the proposal as written. On the other hand, the opposition is being petty when it opposes the proposal to tax the first $15 of monthly television cable bills (an extra $1.46 per month, or all of $17.52 per year). That current tax break only applies to cable, not to dish networks, a blatant example of favoritism in a competitive industry. Anyone that can afford to have cable can afford another eighteen bucks a year.

By: speedygun on 4/21/10 at 10:04

My company was faceing a shortage also and opted to take a pay cut of 10% to sustain everyone. The Gov. needs to impose a 5% pay cut on all the fat cats to sustain the budget. Afterall the money they are looking for is to pay their salaries anyway. Why should the people have to pay for their lavish lifesytle increases.

By: ghost7638ghost7... on 4/21/10 at 10:27

I'll tell you what I think, why don't that YANKEE Bredesen go back to Mass. where he belongs. With a 5% pay cut would still mount up to a whole lot more than I make, not jealous, just facts.
I have had to do outside work in the State office Buildings, and you have one that works and 6 people reading a newspaper. That's a fact.

By: sickofstupidity on 4/21/10 at 11:51

Ron Ramsey is an auctioneer and a bumpkin, Mumpower collects comic books and God knows what else he does thats weird. Their is plenty of pork that can be cut from the budget and not raise taxes or cut employee's salaries. Trouble is, its an election year and these boobs have to grease the palms of a lot of lobbist to get re-elected. They all stink of fish in Denmark.

By: michael thomas on 4/21/10 at 11:55

Calling all leaders that make decisions for us, i'm asking you not to take 5 or 10 percent of your pay away, take 30 to 35 percent then you can see what cuts in pay mean to us, then you will see what people are feeling when you do this. let's ask bud adams to donate money for the state and the schools. After all if he can raise two fingers and get fined $250,000.00 for gestures surely he can help. This town is turning into an enima, full of it. Professional ball players you take note to this as well. If we don't have the money for tickets to see you, you want get as much either. NASHVILLE wake up.

By: marbyn on 4/21/10 at 11:56

I started working for the state in 2007 and believe me, I do not have a lavish life style and I am not a fat cat. By the time I make my house payment, pay my utilities, put gas in my car to get to work and buy food, I have nothing left. I have never had a raise but my cost for insurance has gone up 3 times since I started my job. It will go up again Jan. 1, 2011 and it is going to undergo a change that will probably make it too expensive for me to keep let alone use. After all, the more expensive it is, the less people will use it thus saving the state money while throwing their own health down the toilet. When it's all over and done, and the state employees have been cut to pieces to make up for a bad economy, and we are the first to be cut when there is a deficit some where, public services will be slow and Mr. Public needs to keep his mouth shut, wait in line, and not complain.

By: nashtnman on 4/21/10 at 12:08

Cut the salaries on all elected officials that receive compensation by 5%, remove all perks from elected officials (cars, parking permits, etc.) and monitor all fuel depots for state vehicles and the budget will be balanced with a little extra to put back into schools. It is time the recession hits those that have created most of it.

By: Kosh III on 4/21/10 at 1:27

The Legislature voted themselves a pay raise this session. So much for Republicans being fiscal conservatives.

By: PromosFriend on 4/21/10 at 1:28

Those who bash state employees in this forum obviously have no idea of what they are talking about. It is too easy for them to throw rocks rather than address specific areas of waste that could be managed better. Just as in any large private business there are people employed by the state that should be fired. But, to tar the vast majority of hard working public servants with a broad brush based on a few bad apples is disgraceful. Those that think state employees are "fat cats" living high on the public dollar are liklely the ones that will scream the loudest when state services are cut because of layoffs.

By: richgoose on 4/22/10 at 2:39

I have no idea what Bredesen has up his sleeve but I surely hope that it is a head fake of some kind.

This problem that the state has is no different than the problem that families have from time to time as well as large and small businesses. What they do is limit their spending in any area they can. They cannot automatically increase wages and revenues.

I probably would not cut salaries but I would cut people if that is what it took to live withing the income of the state.

By: idgaf on 4/22/10 at 5:30

It is not up to the republicans to find a way to pay for his over spending nor the taxpayers to pay for it.

It is his responsibility to submit a balance budget and if he wants a cure let him eliminate pre K that he should nevr have started in the first place.

His spending went up over 50% in 8 years and that is/was irresponsible.

They don't call them tax and spend democrats for no good reason.

By: sickofstupidity on 4/22/10 at 6:50

Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.
Mark Twain

By: localboy on 4/22/10 at 7:23

What tools

By: pswindle on 4/22/10 at 7:49

We have to have money to run the government. Ron , let's hear your plan.

By: vechester on 4/22/10 at 8:00

Here's a clue for Rs and Ds. CUT SPENDING! That's what we individuals do when we have a budget problem.

By: evangelist on 4/22/10 at 9:24

The state employees who work the hardest are making the least amount. And true, we haven't gotten any type of raise in 3 years AND our insurance premiums continue to go up. I tend to agree with "nashtnman". IF cuts in salary becomes a reality, start with those who it will hurt the least -- those making the BIG BUCKS!

By: dobiemac on 4/22/10 at 10:13

Just would not do much to cut Bredesen's salary since he has not taken his salary since he took office. Since everyone wants to paint all politicians with the broad label of money grubbing individuals who are only out serve themselves I thought you would like to know that. And yes it is his job to present the General Assembly with a balanced budget, but they have to pass it. They cannot line item things out of the budget, it must be passed as a single package. There has to be cooperation between the Governor's office and the GA. If they will not work with him how can he present them with a budget that they will pass?

By: richgoose on 4/22/10 at 10:41


I will never know but I would be willing to bet that you paid less than 1,000 dollars in income tax last year.

By: localboy on 4/22/10 at 1:57

I did, and pswindle has a point...but so do you. I think it will take shutting down various services to see how serious the voting public really is about the government living within its means...once pet projects get hit and people must do without libraries and parks open when convenient, paying the actual cost for some fee-driven services that currently are charged at a subsidized rate, less state contribution at the local level for education and roads and public safety and increased property taxes by cities and counties to make up the shortfall, etc. - with the fallout we may once again hear the siren cry for tax reform.

By: on 4/29/10 at 2:20

Mr and Mrs Public

The government has the ability to raise taxes to do most whatever they have planned. The problem with using tax increases is the load goes to the public and small businesses. This is not always an equitable way of garnering new money.

The parties must come to an agreement on how to administer the state government in an efficient manner without jeopardizing the lives of those they tax and those that depend on government for their salaries.

The bottom line is that the public pays for everything good and bad that the government does and this most certainly includes the increase in taxes. I do not believe that the state government has looked at different ways of getting new money or ways of curtailing the unneeded perks. Some say that the government responds to the people and their needs but there is still a payment due on the financing of the perks.

Public people look around you at the neighboring states and tell me how great their finances are. Most of them have high taxes and income tax and all the other avenues used by government to raise money for spending. They are in worse condition than Tennessee and they have more taxes than we do. Is this a picture we want to paint? Do we want to contine to run to the Tax Well everytime there is a glitch in the finances? Proactive planning and needs appropriation are the venue for settling the need for more MONEY.

If you recall your grade school history the US as an empire colony went to war over taxes. Their slogan was "No taxation without representation." Are we really being represented now in this massive call for more funding by taxing the public?