Thursday, November 14, 2019

State Comptroller Justin Wilson told Metro Council, "you shouldn't be selling your furniture to make your house payments." Threatens State take over of Nashville.

On Wednesday, State Comptroller Justin Wilson told Metro Council, "you shouldn't be selling your furniture to make your house payments."  He threatened a State takeover of Metro Nashville if the city did not present a balanced budget. Below are news reports from various sources on the topic.



WTVF News Channel 5- .... Comptroller Justin P. Wilson made a presentation to the Metro Council's Budget and Finance Committee Wednesday evening. Wilson told members that the state will not approve the city's budget as it stands now.

"Despite all this wonderful growth and this booming economy that we have, metro government is cash poor," said Wilson.

Wilson says in the current budget there are non recurring expenses, meaning the city is hoping that selling one time assets can help plug in a more than $40 million budget hole year after year. He said in order to fix this, it comes down to to raising revenue, cutting expenses or a combination of the two.




The Tennessean - ...  "If action is not taken to come up with a budget that is approved within reasonable time, then you will have decided, members of the council, that the Comptroller takes the actions that the state requires," Wilson said.
 
Without an approved budget, the state can take control of the city's finances and decide what gets paid, cutting first what state law determines as "optional services." 

"Let me be clear. The comptroller's office does have the authority to step in and determine how you spend your money," Wilson said.
#
The ‘Mess’ Of Metro Finances Has Tennessee Comptroller Demanding Budget Fixes

WPLN, Nashville Public Radio -The city of Nashville is on a path to go broke next year. That’s the unmistakably dire message sent to the Metro Council and other city officials on Tuesday night by Tennessee Comptroller Justin Wilson.

And the comptroller demanded that Metro adjust its budget as soon as possible, warning that the state already could have snatched financial control if not for a grace period being given to the new mayor, new finance director and new Metro Council.

“It’s up to you, the Metro Council, to make the tough but necessary decisions to keep this city on track,” Wilson said, describing the city budget as “just about as tight as you can possibly get it.”

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

How members of the Council voted on the Transgender Day of Remembrance

by Rod Williams - On November 5th the Metro Council passed a resolution recognizing November 20, 2019 as Transgender Day of Remembrance in Nashville. It honors those gender confused people who lost their lives to violence. While any unnecessary loss of life is unfortunate, only about 28 transgender people met an untimely death due to violence last year. It is unclear how many of those experiencing gender dysphoria who met a violent death were killed because someone hated them for their condition and how many may have died due to living a dangerous lifestyle that put them at risk or were killed by a jealous lover or were simply victims of crime unrelated to their perverse lifestyle. In any event the loss of life is unfortunate. However, if I had a vote I would  have voted against the resolution, or at a minimum I would abstained from voting on the resolution.

My objection is that we should not be pandering to the advocates of identity politics and that while any unnecessary loss of life is regrettable, there are many other groups of people at least, if not more, deserving of a day of remembrance. I express this view in this essay:How about a day of remembrance for American military killed in action? For policemen killed in action? For firemen? For babies killed by abortionist? For Americans killed by illegal aliens? For ....

It is a victory that this resolution was not passed "on consent."  Resolutions on consent are lumped together and pass by a single vote.  Everyone present is assumed to have voted for the resolutions.  That is how so many ridiculous pandering progressive resolutions have passed the Council. Steve Glover is to be commended for moving to have this taken off of consent.

It should be pointed out that the resolution really does nothing. It changes no policy nor spends any money and amounts to nothing more that those who voted in favor of it recognizing that date for that purpose. It does not make the day an official Metro holiday. Below is how members of the Council voted and following that is the text of the resolution.  I have underlined the names of those who voted "yes" in whom I am disappointing. These are people who I supported in the recent election. The other "yes" votes did not disappoint me, because I did not expect any better.

Voting  Yes (34): Mendes, Hurt, Allen, Suara, Johnathan Hall, Toombs, Gamble, Parker, Withers, Benedict, VanReece, Hancock, Young, Evans, Bradford, Rhoten, Syracuse, Welsch, Sledge, Cash, O'Connell, Roberts, Taylor, Hausser, Thom Druffel, Murphy, Robert Nash, Vercher, Porterfield, Sepulveda, Rutherford, Lee, Angie Henderson, and Rosenberg;  

Voting No (0);

Voting "Abstain" (2): Steve Glover, and Larry Hagar.

Gone Fishing:  The number of votes cast comes to 36. Voting "abstain" is actually pushing the "abstain" button.  No one was absent for the full meeting, so four members either came in late, left early, took a bathroom break, set on their hands, or went fishing. The four Gone Fishing members are (3): Robert Swope, Russ Pulley, Courtney Johnson and Joy Stles. 

Resolution RS2019-87 

A Resolution recognizing November 20, 2019 as Transgender Day of Remembrance in Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee.

WHEREAS, Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is an annual observance on November 20 that honors the memory of transgender people around the world whose lives have been lost to anti-transgender violence; and

WHEREAS, Transgender Day of Remembrance was established in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith in remembrance of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998 in Allston, Massachusetts; and

WHEREAS, Transgender Day of Remembrance has been observed in over 185 cities throughout more than 20 countries; and

WHEREAS, the annual event provides a forum for transgender communities and allies to raise awareness of the threat of violence faced by gender variant people and the persistence of prejudice felt by the transgender community; and

WHEREAS, many communities organize events and activities to create and promote visibility of anti-transgender violence to stakeholders such as police, the media, and elected officials; and

WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Council recognizes that transgender members of our society are disproportionately affected by hate crimes and violence, and experience myriad challenges in their daily lives, including discrimination, disproportionately high levels of unemployment, and limited access to health care; and

WHEREAS, according to the Human Rights Campaign, in 2018, advocates tracked at least 26 deaths of transgender or gender non-conforming people in the United States due to fatal violence, the majority of whom were black transgender women; and

WHEREAS, fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color, who comprise 80% of all anti-transgender homicides; and

WHEREAS, at least 21 transgender or gender non-conforming people have been fatally shot or killed by other violent means in 2019; and

WHEREAS, only four out of ten Americans say they personally know someone who is transgender, and at least 74% of the known victims of anti-transgender violence in 2017-2018 were misgendered in initial police or media reports surrounding their deaths; and

WHEREAS, despite the challenges faced by the transgender community, by observing the Transgender Day of Remembrance, we recognize, admire, and celebrate the growing awareness and acceptance of transgender people in Nashville and across the nation. Local organizations committed to these efforts include the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, the Tennessee Vals, and the Metro Human Relations Commission; and

WHEREAS, on Transgender Day of Remembrance we honor and commemorate the strength, commitment, and remarkably immense efforts of those working to secure full and equal civil rights for all people, regardless of gender identity or expression.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY:

Section 1. The Metropolitan Council hereby goes on record as recognizing November 20, 2019 as Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Section 2. The Metropolitan Council is directed to prepare a copy of this Resolution to be presented to the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, the Tennessee Vals, and the Metro Human Resources Commission.

Section 3. This Resolution shall take effect from and after its adoption, the welfare of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.

Sponsor(s): Zachary Young, Nancy VanReece, Russ Bradford, Emily Benedict, Kevin Rhoten, Colby Sledge, Dave Rosenberg, Jeff Syracuse, Bob Mendes, Sean Parker, Kyonzté Toombs, Delishia Porterfield, Freddie O'Connell

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

How the Council voted on a resolution calling for amnesty and a path to citizenship for illegal aliens.

by Rod Williams - On November 5th, the Metro Council passed a resolution calling on the President of the United State and Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform and "give Nashville’s qualified undocumented neighbors a path to citizenship and an opportunity to fully participate in the life of our community without fear." It should be pointed out that that is all it does. It changes no policy or spends any money. It is a statement of opinion of those members of the Council who voted for it.

It is a victory that this was not passed "on consent."  Resolutions on consent are lumped together and pass by a single vote.  Everyone present is assumed to have voted for the resolutions.  That is how so many ridiculous pandering progressive resolutions have passed the Council. Steve Glover is to be commended for moving to have this taken off of consent.


If I were serving in the Council, I would not have voted in favor.  I wold  have voted "no" or at a minimum I would have abstained. The resolutions calls for amnesty and a path to citizenship for illegal aliens without calling for deterrence to further illegal immigration. I could support a balanced comprehensive immigration bill but not a one-sided solution.

I could support "comprehensive immigration reform" if it  called for tightening the asylum rules to deter purely economic immigrants, if it called for additional or improved physical barriers as needed along our southern border, and it if required a mandatory verification of legal status of new hires. This resolutions did not rule out those things but called for rewarding illegal aliens without doing anything to address future illegal immigration.

Bob Nash was the primary sponsor of this resolution and I am disappointed that he did so.  Below is how members of the Council voted. I have underlined the "yes" voting members who disappointed me. These are people who I thought may not vote in favor of this and whose candidacy I supported when they ran for office.  The other "yes" votes do not disappoint because I did not expect much better.


Voting Yes (34): Mendes, Hurt, Allen, Suara, Toombs, Gamble, Parker, Withers, Benedict, VanReece, Hancock, Young, Larry Hagar, Evans, Bradford, Rhoten, Syracuse, Welsch, Sledge, Cash, O'Connell, Roberts, Taylor, Hausser, Thom Druffel, Murphy, Bob Nash, Vercher, Porterfield, Sepulveda, Rutherford, Styles, Lee, and Angie Henderson;  

Voting No (0);  

Voting Abstain (3); Steve Glover, Johnathan Hall, and Dave Rosenberg.

Gone fishing:  The number of votes cast comes to 37. Voting "abstain" is actually pushing the "abstain" button.  No one was absent for the full meeting, so three members either came in late, left early, took a bathroom break, set on their hands, or went fishing. The three Gone Fishing members are (3): Robert Swope, Russ Pulley, and Courtney Johnson.


I am pleased that Steve Glover kept the resolution from passing on "consent,' and pleased that he and two other members abstained. While I wish they would have voted "no" or at least pushed the "abstain" button, I am nevertheless pleased that three other members sat on their hands or had to go to the bathroom during the vote.

Below is the text of the resolution.

Resolution RS2019-86

A resolution requesting that the President of the United States and Congress of the United States enact comprehensive immigration reform and

WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Council recognizes that an estimated 31,000 undocumented immigrants live and work in Davidson County, of which 5,000 have been in the United States from five to twenty plus years; and

WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Council further recognizes that the overwhelming majority of these immigrants are hard-working, family-oriented people who contribute to the fabric of our community. Given the opportunity to become documented, these neighbors would no longer have to fear such actions as family separation and could contribute even more to our city’s culture and future; and

WHEREAS, our undocumented neighbors contribute to Nashville’s tax revenues through sales taxes and property taxes by virtue of rent payments and direct home ownership (approximately thirty percent of undocumented immigrants own a home); and

WHEREAS, 7,000 of our undocumented neighbors are under the age of twenty-five. Many of these young people attend Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. Due to lack of documentation, their parents often fear attending school events and providing the parental support that is so important in a student’s success; and

WHEREAS, many undocumented children were brought to the United States by their parents before they were of any age to make such a decision on their own. They have been raised here and know no other home; and

WHEREAS, 151,743 people in Tennessee, including 63,621 born in the United States, lived with at least one (1) undocumented family member between 2010 and 2014; and

WHEREAS, during that same period, one in 25 children in the state was a U.S. citizen child living with a least one undocumented family member (70,982 children in total); and

WHEREAS, our undocumented neighbors are often afraid to call the police to report crimes and are therefore at greater risk of being victims of crime. Our whole community is made less safe for our inability to bring the perpetrators of such crimes to justice; and

WHEREAS, Nashville’s undocumented workers are afraid to come forward and report violations of labor laws and are often the victims of crimes such as wage theft; and

WHEREAS, the Federal Government’s failure to provide a path to citizenship for our undocumented neighbors has caused conflicts of interest and strained relations between federal and local law enforcement agencies; and

WHEREAS, our Federal Government’s failure to address this issue has resulted in our nation’s immigration enforcement officers diverting resources that could be better used securing our borders and apprehending those undocumented persons who truly pose a danger to our community.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE METROPLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY THAT:

Section 1. The Metropolitan Council requests that the President and Congress of the United States enact comprehensive immigration reform legislation that would:

1. Establish just and reasonable eligibility requirements that would enable those undocumented immigrants who meet said requirements, to apply for citizenship; and

2. Establish a just and fair path to citizenship for those undocumented immigrants who have qualified to apply.

Section 2. The Metropolitan Clerk’s Office is directed to send a copy of this resolution to the President of the United States, the Tennessee delegation to the United States Congress, and the Tennessee General Assembly.

Section 3. This resolution shall take effect from and after its passage, the welfare of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.

Sponsor(s): Bob Nash, Jeff Syracuse, Sharon Hurt, Nancy VanReece, John Rutherford, Tonya Hancock, Zulfat Suara, Burkley Allen, Delishia Porterfield

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

“Finding qualified labor” top business problem in booming small business sector

NASHVILLE (Nov. 12, 2019) — The small business half of the economy continued its remarkable economic streak, posting a 0.6 point gain in October’s Optimism Index. The 102.4 reading was buoyed by eight of the 10 Index components advancing, as talk of a recession waned in October. The Uncertainty Index declined 4 points but remains historically high heading into an election year.

“A continued focus on a recession by policymakers, talking heads, and the media clearly caused some consternation among small businesses in previous months, but after shifting their focus to other topics, it’s become clear that owners are not experiencing the predicted turmoil,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita D. Duggan. “Small business owners are continuing to create jobs, raise wages, and grow their businesses, thanks to tax cuts and deregulation, and nothing is stopping them except for finding qualified workers.”

State-specific data isn’t available, but NFIB State Director Jim Brown said small business owners across Tennessee remain upbeat about the direction of the economy. “Their biggest concern is finding good applicants,” Brown said. “Our members may be ready to extend their hours or expand their businesses, but they can’t do that without qualified workers.”

Key findings from October’s index included:
  • The October increase was led by GDP-producing plans for job creation, inventory investment, and capital spending.
  • Reports of actual capital spending increased and inventory investment improved from a modest negative level in September.
  • Reports of rising labor compensation increased and remained strong historically, and the frequency of plans to raise compensation also rose in October.
  • Reports of higher selling prices remained subdued, so rising labor costs are still not pushing up inflation on Main Street.
  • Actual job creation in October exceeded that in September, as small businesses continued to hire and create new jobs.
The reported increase in sales put pressure on inventory stocks, reducing them. Owners reporting inventory increases remained unchanged at a net 0 percent. The net percent of owners planning to expand inventory holdings increased 3 points to a net 5 percent, a solid number and one of the best in a year. Overall, owners feel that the prospects for growth justify adding to inventory stocks.

Fifty-nine percent reported capital outlays, up 2 points from September’s reading. Of those making expenditures, 40 percent reported spending on new equipment (up 2 points), 24 percent acquired vehicles (up 1 point), and 18 percent improved or expanded facilities (up 4 points). Seven percent acquired new buildings or land for expansion (unchanged) and 14 percent spent money for new fixtures and furniture (unchanged).

Twenty-nine percent plan capital outlays in the next few months, up 2 points. Plans to invest were strong in agriculture and the wholesale trades (34 percent each), and manufacturing and transportation (33 percent each). Thirty percent of small firms reported negative effects from trade policy. Making major commitments about production and distribution will be more difficult until import and export prices are stabilized with trade agreements.

“Labor shortages are impacting investment adversely – a new truck, or tractor, or crane is of no value if operators cannot be hired to operate them,” said NFIB Chief Economist William Dunkelberg. “The economy will likely remain steady at its current level of activity for the next 12 months as Congress will be focused on other matters, and an election cycle will limit action. Any significant change in trade issues will impact financial markets more than the real economy during this period. Adjustments to a new set of ‘prices,’ such as tariffs, will take time.”

Twenty-five percent of the owners selected “finding qualified labor” as their top business problem, more than cited taxes or regulations. Reports of higher worker compensation rose 1 point to a net 30 percent of all firms – a historically high reading. Plans to raise compensation rose 4 points to a net 22 percent. Firms are likely to continue to offer improved compensation to attract and retain qualified workers because the only solution in the short term to an employee shortage is to raise compensation to attract new workers and to train less qualified employees. Owners are still not passing on higher compensation costs, with only 10 percent reporting higher selling prices.

“The economy is doing well given the labor constraints it faces. Unemployment is very low, incomes are rising, and inflation is low. That’s a good economy,” Dunkelberg concluded.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Monday, November 11, 2019

Nikki Haley in Nashville to launch her new book.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/author-event-with-ambassador-nikki-haley-tickets-71540580803

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Veterans Day, Honoring all who served. Thank you.

See the source image

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Reading list for Nov. 13 Comptroller presentation by Council member at-large Bob Mendes

by Rod Williams- Anyone who has been paying attention knows that Metro Nashville has a serious budget problem. One might even call it a "crisis."  I think that word is overused but when the Comptroller puts you on notice that you must balance your budget and you must raise water rates, then I think you are at least close to having a crisis.  The Comptroller has a lot of leverage over a local government and could take unpleasant actions if Metro does not get its financial house in order. The fact that the Comptroller had to exert pressure on Nashville to cause the city to address our financial problems is in itself embarrassing.

For anyone who wants a better understanding of Metro's finances, I suggest you read the following article.  While I often disagree with Bob Mendes' political stances and am certainly more conservative than he, he is one of the people I pay attention to when speaking about Metro finances.  I opposed his proposed tax increases the last two years and may not agree with his solutions, but he clearly explains the problems and understands them. Bob Mendes' blog is one of the things I routinely read to stay informed.

The underling in his post his mine. I wanted to call extra attention to these issues.  

Reading list for Nov. 13 Comptroller presentation


Bob Mendes
by Councilman at Large Bob Mendes reposted from this link- The Comptroller for the State of Tennessee will make a presentation to the Metro Council on November 13, 2019, about Metro’s finances. In advance of that, I went back and read some of my blog posts about the city’s finances:

Pre-Budget Process Thoughts (May 1, 2016): This was my first budget-related post. I questioned why the portion of the budget being spent on debt was increasing during boom times. I said, “You would like to think that if you absolutely kill it on the revenue side, the percentage of your budget that goes toward debt might go down?  If one were a cynic, one would observe that record-breaking revenue increases can’t go on forever, and ask whether we will be able to anticipate when our revenue increases inevitably recede well enough to also pull back on large increases in new long-term debt.”

Math is Hard (April 27, 2017): I noted that from year to year, Metro kept using different numbers to describe what portion of the budget was going to pay debt. I am still not sure why this was happening. But by 2017, there was no consistent way to measure how much of the budget was going toward paying long-term debt.

Unfunded OPEB liability to cross $3B mark this year (October 9, 2017): This is one of several posts over the year making the point that Metro’s completely unfunded obligation for retiree health benefits has consistently grown more rapidly than the city’s budget. That’s a problem.

Storm has been brewing for a while… (May 5, 2018): After the transition to Mayor Briley, the Council was presented with a bad budget. This was the budget that reneged on employee raises and was called “belt-tightening” by the Mayor. This post talks about how it took multiple years to build up to this bad budget.

um…about the budget… (May 11, 2018): I started this post by saying, “The proposed FY19 Metro budget has been out for ten days now…and it’s not good…and this is just the first year of a multi-year problem.” In response, the administration doubled down on its “there’s no problem” campaign. I and the other Council members who tried to address the problems were painted as alarmists.

No Free Lunch (August 19, 2018): After having lost the 2018 budget battle by one vote, this post tried to show the city’s increasing debt problem along side the city’s increasing unfunded retiree benefit obligations.

Metro Debt Dashboard (September 15, 2018): Like the last post, this one tried to collect data to show how out of bounds Metro’s finances had gotten. This post created some back-and-forth between the mayor and me. Briley told the Tennessean, “And I’m even more surprised that Bob Mendes would put out these numbers about our debt and debt service that are just so fundamentally wrong.” This exchange is relevant only to understand how powerful it is when the mayor’s office with its full-time professional finance and communications staff dismiss facts. In large measure, as recently as one year ago, everything that is now considered “fact” about Metro’s finances was dismissed by the Metropolitan Government as “fundamentally wrong.” That aggressive denial is part of why the city’s finances are where they are now.

Metro’s Audited Financials as of 6/30/2018 (December 15, 2018): This one is long…maybe skip it. But if you want to see the latest about the retiree benefit obligations, read it.

Maybe hold back on the high fives for now?? (March 19, 2019): I wrote this post after the administration announced pay raises for employees and was attempting to portray that like the budget was back on track.

The myth that “belt tightening” could fix the budget (May 4, 2019): The title is self-explanatory.

FAQs – FY20 Better Budget (June 6, 2019): This post collects all of my several posts about the budget Nashville is currently operating under.

Met with Comptroller and Mayor today… (October 3, 2019): This one is my last post related to the budget and what the I expect the Comptroller to discuss on November 13.

As a final note, I want to remind everyone that, while it is easy to focus on Metro’s budget problems, these issues are mostly about growing pains. Nashville has an awesome economy. To fix the city government’s budget, it will take discipline, honesty, and effort. We can do this.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories