Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Gov. Bill Lee proposes two-week sales tax break on dining out, groceries in budget amendment

State of Tennessee press release, Tuesday, April 13, 2021,  NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced his amendment to the proposed Fiscal Year 2021-2022 budget.

The amendment includes $580 million in available funds as a result of fiscal prudence. These funds will be invested in strategic long-term projects that focus on a return to pre-pandemic priorities and deliver critical services while not growing government. The budget amendment also includes nearly $100 million for a two-week sales tax holiday on all grocery sales, purchases at restaurants, and all prepared food. 

“This proposal supports Tennesseans by strategically investing in long-term initiatives that will move our state forward,” said Gov. Lee. “I’m especially proud to provide tax cuts to get money back to Tennesseans to encourage them to frequent industries that have been disproportionately and negatively impacted this year.” 
 
This amendment reflects the Governor’s priorities and includes record investments in broadband, economic development, safety and law enforcement, increasing reserves, and education. 
“Due to Tennessee’s strong financial leadership, Tennessee has been ranked number one in fiscal stability by US World News & Report in both 2019 and 2020,” said Commissioner of Finance and Administration Butch Eley.
  
“Our prudent and cautious approach has established Tennessee as a leader in fiscal conservatism, and we thank the General Assembly for their partnership in these efforts.” 

Notable investments in the FY 21-22 budget amendment include:
 
Tax Cuts 
  • $25M for a two-week sales tax holiday for groceries 
  • $75M for a two-week sales tax holiday for restaurants and all prepared food 
  • $16M to reduce the professional privilege tax by 25 percent 
K-12 Education and Mental Health 
  • $250M trust fund to assist K-12 families who are facing significant mental health issues in the wake of COVID-19 
  • $18.5M to transportation to students for summer learning 
  • $2M to provide an additional 4 high quality, grade aligned books and resources over the summer for the 88,000 rising first graders in Tennessee 
Higher Education 
  • $79M to eliminate current TCAT waitlists statewide, currently at 11,400 students 
  • $25M to Tennessee Promise to permit increases in the Hope Scholarship 
  • $4M to increase Agriculture Extension Agents at University of Tennessee and Tennessee State University 
Rural & Agriculture 
  • $50K to support the state fair (in addition to the $250,000 recurring in originally proposed budget for total of $300K and $5M non-recurring) 
  • $3M to provide additional funding for rural projects as part of the Rural Economic Opportunity Fund (in addition to $21M in originally proposed budget for total of $24M) 
Safety 
  • $500K to provide gun safety programming for children 
  • $17M to replace radios for state troopers 
  • $18M to improve the statewide disaster communications system 
  • $680K to add 4 new Homeland Security Agents 
Economic Development 
  • $5M to provide grants to restore and preserve historic downtowns across the state 
  • $3M to increase employment in Tennessee through the Small Business Innovation program
Transportation 
  • $3M recurring and an additional $10M nonrecurring to provide additional direct funding to airports across Tennessee through the Transportation Equity Fund (total $50M investment in air infrastructure) 
To view the full budget amendment, click here.

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I got a fundraising letter from the Tennessee Democratic Party today.

by Rod Williams - I doubt many Republicans get Democrat fund raising letters but I like to know what the other side is up to so I subscribe to the Tennessee Democratic Party newsletter and occasionally get a communication or fundraising email from the Tennessee Dems. 

Now, I don't take fundraising letter rhetoric very seriously. They are by nature inflammatory. Both sides, in order to motivate their supporters to give, have to get them riled up. Pointing out how evil the other side is seems to work better than touting the benefits of your side's policy positions and accomplishments, so often partisans resort to demonizing the other side. I am okay with that because I think Democrats need to be demonized. Abortion-on-Demand, Defund the Police, Socialism, The Green New Deal, advancing Critical Race Theory, trampling the constitution, and bankrupting America deserve demonetizing. Hell, Dems may be demons, or demon possessed or demon fellow-travelers and demon apologist. Demonize away! 

While there are many caring and good people who vote Democrat, and I have some among my family, the philosophy for which they vote, I do think is evil.  These people I love are not themselves evil, but they vote for evil. It is okay to demonize evil. 
 
I recently got an email from Hendrell Remus, Chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party.  There is nothing earth shattering in this April 14th fundraising newsletter but I thought readers might find the tone interesting. Here are a couple excerpts. the bold highlighting is mine.

Rod, 

Bill Lee, Marsha Blackburn, Bill Hagerty – they’re all the same. They are Trump’s legacy and will continue to push his hateful ideology and dangerous agenda as long as they remain in power. That’s why the TNDP is laser focused right now on our Build Back Blue program, and why we need help reaching our mid-month goal. We still have $4,790 to raise before midnight tomorrow. Will you help? 

Notice the anti-Trump emphasis.  We can expect this for years to come. While some may not like Trump or be disappointed in him, it is hard to overstate how much Democrats hate him.  I myself am not a huge Donald Trump fan.  I certainly preferred his policies to those of the Democrats but thought Trump a bully and a BS artist with an oversized ego and was not even sure he was a conservative. I doubted he had an ideology or even core values to which he was committed.   Democrats, however, think he is "a monster," or "the greatest threat to mankind since Adolph Hitler."  Their hatred of Trump was visceral and that was from day one. They will use Trump to raise money as long as Trump is around. 

More:

The TNDP has been long overdue for an overhaul, and that’s exactly what we’re doing now.

"Long overdue for an overhaul;" is this a slap at  former chair Mary Mancini?  She did not reverse the losing streak of Tennessee Democrats and in fact I think the number of Dems holding office continued to shrink in Tennessee while she was chair.  I thought she was the wrong person to build the party but was pleased to see her in the role as chair because I did not want to see the party rebuilt.  I did not think she would be able to appeal to that moderate rural voter in say, Carol County or White County.  In fairness, I don't think any chair could have done much better. Maybe, someone with a Tennessee accent and Tennessee roots could have done a little better, but not much.  The Democrat Party has moved so far to the left that they can not appeal to most Tennesseans.  

For one thing, there is not much of a middle.  We are divided into our respective camps and there are not many people who are wavering or are persuadable or undecided. Face it, the Democrat Party's values and policies are not attractive to most Tennesseans. The Democratic Party is simply too woke, too socialist, and too radical to appeal to Tennessee voters. The Democratic Party is out of touch with Tennessee voters.

Currently the Democrat party has two blue islands in a sea of red. Democrats have a lock on Memphis and Nashville.  Democrat prospects for wining beyond these two liberal strongholds depend on immigrants moving into the state and voting for the same policies that created the disaster of the places they fled; not in changing the minds of Tennesseans who vote Republicans.  While their parents and grandparents may have voted Democrat, Tennesseans recognize that the Democrat Party of John F. Kennedy is not the Democrat Party of today. I don't think many Republicans will be persuaded to return to the Democrat fold.  I don't think an overhaul will help the Tennessee Democrat Party.

Continuing:

The TNDP has been long overdue for an overhaul, and that’s exactly what we’re doing now. On April 22, our Build Back Blue Kickoff event will mark a turning point in our efforts towards defeating Bill Lee and his co-conspirators.

"Bill Lee and his co-conspirators?" This is just thrown out there without any explanation. How did Bill Lee conspire and with whom did he conspire and what did he conspire to do?  I really do not know what he is talking about. 

Continuing:

P.S. Please, only donate if you can afford to. The impacts of this pandemic are real, and we completely understand if times are tough right now.

What??? I guess as long as Dems have the super rich liberals they don't need money from the little ole ladies on Social Security.  I have never seen a Republican fundraiser letter excuse a person for not giving.  I get inundated with Republican fundraising letters and never have I been given and escape hatch for not giving. I think Republicans would talk the grandma on social security eating cat food out of a can, out of her last dime.  Maybe, in some ways, Democrats are kindler and gentler. 

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Join The Bastiat Society of Nashville on April 29th | "Where Have All the Capitalists Gone?" with Richard Salsman



Dear Rod,

AIER's Bastiat Society of Nashville invites you to join us on April 29th at 6:00pm for an in-person event with AIER Senior Fellow Richard Salsman

The past two decades have seen a widening, intensifying hostility toward capitalism, even though few people can even define it. Capitalism has become a scapegoat for a range of personal displeasures and societal ills. Not long ago, in the 1980s and 1990s, respect for capitalism was increasing and spreading; in the middle of those decades (1989-1991), the U.S.S.R. collapsed and the Cold War ended peacefully, with freer systems (U.S. and U.K.) the obvious winners. Yet this victory for liberty has been derided by so-called intellectuals as "neo-liberalism." 

The last two decades have seen a tragic revival of anti-capitalist ideologies and practices, including Marxism, Keynesianism protectionism, nationalism, and racism. What explains this? How can it be fixed? Who were the pro-capitalist champions that created the 1980s and 1990s? Do they exist today? Where have they gone? Dr. Salsman answers these important questions. The key point: capitalism requires a moral defense, not merely an economic one. 

The Bastiat Society of Nashville's speaker series is co-sponsored by The Beacon Center of Tennessee & The Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) (affiliated with Middle Tennessee State University). This co-sponsorship does not necessarily constitute endorsement of the speakers' positions on the issues discussed. 

Ticket Prices: 
$0 for Founding Members 
$10 for Annual Members 
$20 for Non-Members $0 for Actively enrolled university students who register with a .edu email address. Those who register with a non- .edu email address will be unregistered and asked to purchase tickets at full price. 

Registration Required. Let us know if you're coming.
More about the speaker: 
Dr. Richard M. Salsman is an assistant professor of political economy at Duke University, founder and president of InterMarket Forecasting, Inc., a senior fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research, and a senior scholar at The Atlas Society. In the 1980s and 1990s he was a banker at the Bank of New York and Citibank and an economist at Wainwright Economics, Inc. Dr. Salsman has authored three books: Breaking the Banks: Central Banking Problems and Free Banking Solutions (1990), Gold and Liberty (1995), and The Political Economy of Public Debt: Three Centuries of Theory and Evidence (2017). His next book, Where Have all the Capitalists Gone? (2021) will be published by the American Institute for Economic Research. Dr. Salsman has authored a dozen chapters and scores of articles. His work has appeared in the Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy, Reason Papers, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Forbes, the Economist, the Financial Post, the Intellectual Activist, and The Objective Standard. Dr. Salsman earned his B.A. in economics from Bowdoin College (1981), his M.A. in economics from New York University (1988), and his Ph.D. in political economy from Duke University (2012).

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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Truth in Taxation will give TN taxpayers a fighting chance to stop a massive tax hike.

From Americans for Prosperity- Tennessee


Listen to the AFP-TN team breakdown "Truth-In-Taxation." 

Truth in Taxation will give TN taxpayers a fighting chance to stop a massive tax hike. When a city has a reckless spending & debt problem ( Nashville) they will be required to give advance public notice before raising taxes. 

Let your lawmakers know you support (HB 1315 / SB 1353) by emailing them here: www.truthintaxationtn.com 
Or, join us in person at the Property & Planning Subcommittee hearing:
When: Tuesday (4/13) at 4:30pm
Where: Cordell Hull Building (425 Rep. John Lewis Way N, Nashville, TN 37243) -- Hearing Room III (3).

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A Voter ID laws Comic Book



 













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Friday, April 9, 2021

Former scumbag disgraced judge, Casey Moreland, gets out of federal prison this weekend.

by Rod Williams, April 9, 2021 - Remember Judge Casey Moreland? You should.  He was the Davidson County General Sessions judge who pled guilty to obstruction of justice, retaliating against a witness, theft from a federally funded program, destruction of records and witness tampering. Details of his offences included swapping favorable treatment of women who appeared before him in court in exchange for sex. It also involved stealing money from a non-profit foundation he sit up to help people who needed substance abuse counseling services and could not afford it.  In the investigation of these crimes it was exposed that he hosted trips for other judges and lawyers and supplied prostitutes and marijuana. 


Corruption appears to have been a way of life for Moreland, not a lapse in Judgment. There was the case reported in the Tennnessean on March 21st of this year involving Circuit Court Judge Michael Binkley of Williamson County that reveals more of Moreland's corruption.  In a case before Judge Binkley, Binkley slapped a fine of $700,000 on one of the lawyers arguing a lawsuit.  This huge fine reportedly appeared to be prejudicial and vindictive. This led to a state appellate court booting Binkley off the case and striking down his sanctions order. In the process of this action, it was revealed that Binkley had been caught in a prostitution sting in 2010, two years before he was elected to the bench. But, get this! Former Davidson County General Sessions Court Judge Casey Moreland had erased all record of it the same day Binkley was arrested.  Had this not been done, Binkley would never have been elected as judge.

Judges once elected are hardly ever scrutinized and are hardly ever defeated when running for reelection.  How many people did Moreland punish for prostitution or marijuana arrest?  How many blowjobs did he get for reducing some poor women's sentence? When a judge shares pot and whores with an attorney who will appear before him in court, can one expect impartial justice? How many judges are just as corrupt?

Lawyers, other justices, and other elected officials and Democrat Party insiders have to know this stuff goes on, yet they keep quite about it and let it continue. Just how corrupt is the judicial system? I don't know, but I assume the corruption runs deep. Shame!     



Casey Moreland
Casey Moreland
May 24, 2018 - The Casey Moreland scandal is a disgusting tale of corruption, bribery, embezzlement, obstruction of justice, greed and taking advantage of the powerless by the powerful.  I hope they throw the book at him.

Nashville is probably no more corrupt than many other cities but power corrupts. Casey Moreland is an example of why we need a vibrant press, an engaged political opposition, citizens who are paying attention, and a healthy skepticism and distrust of government.  For more on the Casey Moreland affair follow these link: here, here, and here.

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Thursday, April 8, 2021

Here are the 10 Safest Cities in Tennessee for 2021

 

1. Church Hill 
2. Signal Mountain 
3. Mount Carmel 
4. Oakland 
5. Whiteville 
6. Camden 
7. Pleasant View 
8. Brentwood 
9. Loudon 
10. Atoka 

For details behind this list and to see if your city made the top 20, follow this link

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Life-time health insurance for former council members drastically reduced

by Rod Williams, 4/8/2021 - After an effort of more than ten years, finally the provision of life-time health care insurance for former council members has been curtailed.  It has not been completely eliminated but significantly reduced.  The bill reforming this benefit for former council members passed Tuesday night. 

Currently, and it has been this way since sometime in the eighties, once a council member leaves office, he may continue to receive Metro health insurance under the same terms as a current metro employee.  The former councilman pays 25% of the premium. We are the only city in America providing such a generous benefit to former council members.

As changed, former two-term council members would continue to get the metro health benefit for two years and would pay 25% of the premium.  Then, for two years they would pay 50% or the premium and then the portion paid by the former councilmember would increase to 75% of the premium. When they reach age 65, the Metro insurance becomes their secondary insurance to Medicare.  Probably most would drop it at that time because there are better plans for a secondary insurance rather than paying 75% of the premium for Metro insurance.

The "whereas" section of the bill (with portions highlighted by the me)  explains why this change needed to occur:

WHEREAS, in 2019, Metro Council members received a $8,100 raise approved in the prior term which was recommended by the Department of Human Resources under the belief to properly compensate Metro Council would help to promote a more diverse and inclusive Council body; and

WHEREAS, the citizens of Davidson County expect the Council to manage taxpayer money wisely, yet over $800,000 per year is spent on a benefit for Councilmembers that is not offered to other part-time Metro Government Employees; and

WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Government spent $837,438 health insurance benefits for both current and former Metro Council Members in 2020. This cost is expected to increase to $1,208,134 by 2024; and

WHEREAS, July 17, 2020 the Metropolitan Council passed a $1.066 property tax rate increase in the USD ($1.033 in the GSD), constituting the highest increase in the history of Metropolitan Nashville; and

WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Government is $4.5 billion in debt, with depleted reserves; and 

WHEREAS, in 2014, the Mayor's Office contracted with an independent consulting company (Deloitte Consulting LLP) to provide data upon which Metro could make decisions about current pay levels. This study revealed that none of Metro Nashville's peers offer retiree medical coverage to council members. To be consistent with common practice, the study recommended that Metro eliminate lifetime medical coverage for Council Members; and

WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Council should remove the lifetime health insurance benefits for Council members after they leave office.

I would add one more reason:

WHEREAS, when this benefit was passed sometime in the 80's, Metro did not have many former Council members.  It was not uncommon for  members to serve twenty or thirty years and be old men when they retired, so this benefit was not very costly.  Now, with term limits and younger people serving, there are a lot of former council members and being younger, they can receive the benefit for a much longer time. 

 This change does not effect current former councilmembers or current members who will have served two-terms by 2027.  They still will get the current level of benefit.  Members elected from now on will get the reduced benefit. 

While I would like to see the benefit eliminated in its entirety, there is no doubt that something stronger would have failed. Since 2012, efforts to end the benefit failed on four separate occasions. 

The lead sponsor of this bill was Council member Tonya Hancock.  She is commended for her taking on this fight. The bill passed by a 34-3 vote.  

Council members Emily Benedict, Colby Sledge and Tanaka Vercher were the only "no" votes.

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Study: Tennessee's violent crime rate 3rd highest among 50 states

(The Center Square) – Violent crimes in Tennessee numbered 595.2 per every 100,000 residents of the state as of 2019, the third-highest rate among the 50 states, according to a new analysis from the website 24/7 Wall St. 


The total number of murders in Tennessee in 2019 came in at 498, according to the 24/7 Wall St. analysis of FBI crime data, while the state’s poverty rate was estimated at 13.9%. The study’s authors pegged Memphis as the most dangerous city in the state.  

Nationwide, the violent crime rate for 2019 was found to be 366.7 incidents per 100,000 Americans, according to 24/7 Wall St. The violent crimes tracked in the study were aggravated assaults, robberies, sexual assault and murders or non-negligent manslaughters.  

The poorest states also tend to have the highest rates of violent incidents, the study’s authors concluded. New England states, which have relatively high incomes and less poverty, were among the safest in the nation, while many lower-income Southern states had the highest violent crime rates, the analysis found.  

The most dangerous cities in Hawaii and Alabama could not be pinpointed because of a lack of municipal crime data in those states, according to 24/7 Wall St.


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Nashville is home to more billionaires who control more wealth than any other city in Tennessee

by Samuel Stebbins, 24/7 Wall St. via The Center Square Apr 5, 2021- There are nearly 2,400 people worldwide whose individual net worth exceeds $1 billion -- and more than one-quarter of them live in the United States.  All told, there are over 250 cities and towns across the country that at least one of the world's ultra wealthy calls home. 


Using data from Forbes' Real Time Billionaires list, 24/7 Wall St. identified the city in every state with the most billionaires. The combined net worth of the billionaires in some U.S. cities exceeds the entire annual GDP of many states. 

The U.S. cities that are home to the most billionaires are often closely tied to the sources of their wealthiest residents' net worth. For example, many of the wealthiest people in the country have made their fortune through some association a successful company -- and these people often live in close proximity to these companies. As a result, many of the cities on this list have high concentrations of companies in well-paying industries like finance, tech, and oil. 

In Tennessee, Nashville is home to more billionaires who control more wealth than any other city. A total of three billionaires live in Nashville with a combined net worth of $20.7 billion. Of Nashville residents with a minimum 10-figure net worth, Thomas Frist Jr is the wealthiest, worth an estimated $8.2 billion. Although Franklin, Tennessee is also home to three billionaires, their combined net worth of $6.9 billion falls short of the combined wealth of billionaires in Nashville. 

To determine the city in every state with the most billionaires, 24/7 Wall St. compiled data from Forbes' Real Time Billionaires list. Data on residency and net worth came from the list, which is updated every five minutes to reflect changes in stock prices and private company valuations. In cases where the number of billionaires in two cities within the same state was a tie, the city with the highest total billionaire net worth was given preference. Data is current as of March 29, 2021. This is the city in every state with the most billionaires. (To continue reading and see the list follow this link.)

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Tennessee lawmakers considering government ban on COVID-19 vaccine passports

By Jon Styf,  Apr 7, 2021, (The Center Square) – A measure to prevent any government in Tennessee from requiring a COVID-19 vaccine passport is making its way through the General Assembly. 


Amended House Bill 575 is supported by Gov. Bill Lee, who worked on the language with House sponsor Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, and Rep. Jason Zachary, R-Knoxville. 

“I oppose vaccine passports,” Lee tweeted Tuesday in a statement also read by Ragan to the Tennessee House Health Subcommittee. 

“The COVID-19 vaccine should be a personal health choice, not a government requirement. “I am supporting legislation to prohibit any government-mandated vaccine passports to protect the privacy of Tennesseans' health information and ensure this vaccine remains a voluntary, personal decision,” Lee said.

The bill would not stop a business from requiring a vaccine passport. The move is similar to those made by Republican governors in Texas and Florida. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently issued executive orders that said governments cannot require the passport for COVID-19 vaccinations. 

Subcommittee member Rep. Robin Smith, R-Hixson, said she supported the bill but believed it could go further related to HIPAA medical privacy laws. Ragan said he has a health condition that has prevented him from wearing a mask, using a shield instead, and he has not run into issues when he explains he has a medical condition. Ragan said that at least one Tennessee county has passed rules requiring a vaccine passport or something similar already. 

The bill will head to the full House Health Committee.

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Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Take a break: Let me show the bouquet I made from flowers out of my yard.

 

I had a delightful Easter with my daughter, son-in-law, and grandson.  We enjoyed French 75 cocktails, a delicious dinner of lamb and other delicious side dishes with a good Boudreaux wine.  It was a delight hunting Easter eggs with my grandson.

This is bouquet I made for the occasion.  All of the flowers came out of my yard.  There are Irises, Wisteria, money plant, Vinca, Hyacinths, another blue flower the name of which I don't know and the yellow flower is from a bush, the name of which I don't know. 

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Illegal aliens eligible for Metro to pay their rent and utilities. No Soc. Sec. # required for rental assistance program.

 Eviction moratorium offers more time to pay, while these programs cover what you owe 


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — ...The Housing Opportunity Partnership and Employment (HOPE) was made possible after Mayor John Cooper applied for and received $20.8 million for MAC to cover past due rent and utilities. 

Lisa McCrady of MAC says this new funding expands their previous rent assistance to make it far more inclusive than ever before. ....

...One notable requirement that no longer exists is the need for a social security number. McCrady says this ensures we can help even the undocumented tenants who often find themselves without options. She says many have been too worried about their status to claim benefits, making this a potential game-changer.

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