Friday, January 1, 2016

Brian Kelsey's 5 Priorities for 2016

Dear Rod,

I hope that your family enjoyed a blessed Christmas season, and I write to wish you a Happy New Year.  A new year means a time for renewal for many.  It's a chance to start over with new resolutions and the prospect of an upcoming year better than the last.  For me, a new year means leaving home to spend much of the next four months working hard for you in Nashville. Here's a preview of what I'll be working on.

1.  Criminal Justice Reform
During the 2016 session I will be pushing for reforms to our criminal laws that keep Tennesseans safer by keeping violent offenders behind bars longer. I will also seek to save taxpayer dollars by considering alternative penalties for nonviolent offenders.
2.  Opportunity Scholarships
As new jobs are brought to Tennessee and Shelby County, we must have a ready supply of educated workers to fill the ranks.  Opportunity Scholarships will allow low-income students to escape the bottom 5% of schools in the state and use the funds that we are already spending on them to instead attend private schools.
3.  Hall Tax Repeal
The oppressive Hall Tax on interest and dividends discourages saving and investment and disproportionately impacts senior citizens and those on fixed incomes.  Opponents to my efforts to repeal the tax can no longer claim the need for offsetting, additional state revenue. With the state sitting on a $600 million surplus and economists' projections of future surpluses, we can repeal the Hall Tax, keep paying local governments their share of the revenue, and not have to cut one dime from state or local government.
4.  De-annexation
Now that we have successfully brought an end to forced annexation, it is time to provide a fix for those communities annexed against their will in prior years.  Legislation allowing certain communities a vote to de-annex will bring much needed economic growth to neighborhoods like Cordova and Southwind.
5.  Judicial Confirmation
I was honored to sponsor two successful amendments to the Tennessee constitution: one to forever prohibit a state income tax and another to adopt a Founding Fathers model for selecting appellate judges. I hope that the first few days of session will see implementation of the latter amendment and confirmation of the most conservative Tennessee Supreme Court in my lifetime.
May you have a blessed and prosperous 2016!

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