Greetings, Amazing Folks of the 40th!
The deadline for members to have filed bills was Thursday, Feb. 9. As you know, the limit of 15 bills that each member can prime-sponsor has been the rule for quite some time, and I can tell you, amen to that!
Truly we need to focus on enforcing the laws already in the books. While in the quietness of my study, I am reaching out to you who read this Loop, and asking you for your prayers, and for wisdom from above. Already at the genesis of the legislative session there is such an intensity of antagonism. Not so much in our members, but as the elevator arises from the tunnel on Monday nights, I can hear the angry shouts of protesters in the Capitol rotunda. When the doors open, all one can see is a mob of protestors shouting, shoulder to shoulder, as every member is escorted to the House Chamber to do the people’s work. Our Tennessee Highway Patrol is to be commended for giving me, one of 99 members, assurance that all is OK.
Now for the big issue at hand.
Gov. Haslam came to my home county of Smith last Friday to present his plan on transportation funding. There was a good turnout for a Friday lunch crowd. It is no secret to my district that because of the majority of those for whom I work are asking me to oppose a tax on fuel, I believe wholeheartedly that we can achieve the objective of meeting the needs for roads and bridges, but without a tax!
The Hawk Plan is one many of us are leaning on. So with that being said, I invite you to the discussion presenting both sides of this heated issue: the IMPROVE Act, presented by the administration, will be debated, and my special guest, economist Art Laffer, will speak to the Transportation Subcommittee at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 15. Folks, if you cannot watch live on the General Assembly website (capitol.tn.gov), watch us at your convenience later; but watch and hear the conversation, for it is important that you know why low taxes and broad base bring record revenues. Tennessee is experiencing that now – why fix what ain’t broke? As long as taxes remain low and government is reined in, we will always have more than enough to meet the need for our roads and bridges. Transportation must be a priority!
Establishing needs from wants is a basic discipline in every budget, whether home or government. Living within your means must apply in every checkbook. So stay tuned as we vet and discuss these next few weeks, then take action on March 1.
As always, it is such a joy to have folks from my district join me for the day. Really, it is the responsibility of a republic to be engaged in the preserving of how the machine works on the hill in Nashville. Call my office at 615-741-2192, and Grace will get you scheduled.
The fuel tax has been my world here of late, but there are some other hefty issues as well. Again, use the Tennessee General Assembly’s website to navigate bills of interest to you. During my tenure in office, the Division of Unclaimed Property within the Treasury Department has returned $9,966,321.18 to the rightful owners in District 40. Yet, still the work is not complete, for there is currently $13,263,724.55 in unclaimed property that needs to find its rightful owner. I encourage you to go to claimittn.gov, to check and see, at no extra charge, if you are the owner or a legal heir to claims.
In closing: “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever.” Isaiah 32:17