Thursday, April 18, 2013

Tennesseans Get 'Pennies From Haslam'

Today's "Memphis Flyer" editorial is a must read:

"A single piece of progressive legislation, the lowering of the sales tax on food by a quarter of 1 percent, was originally opposed by the administration before its passage in the final days of last year's session. This year, an additional .25 percent cut in sales tax on food is a part of the governor's legislative agenda and on track to pass.

So, while corporations and the wealthy saw their state taxes and potential liabilities drop by thousands of dollars a year, average Tennesseans saw a tax cut of a mere $3.65 annually — which will buy a burrito at your local Pilot Travel Center.

Last year, the governor touted his "Tennessee Economic Miracle" to the chattering classes on cable TV. Since the beginning of Haslam's term, poverty in Tennessee has increased to nearly 17 percent, wages have remained stagnant, and unemployment has tracked national averages. Some miracle.

None of the bills supported by the governor increases job creation or wages, nor do they extend the buying power of regular Tennesseans. Instead, all help wealthier people save money, which is an inefficient, if not downright chimerical, job-creation strategy."

Monday, April 15, 2013

Tennessee Lawmakers OK Drones

"As approved by the Senate, the bill (SB796) says that drones can only be used to search for a fugitive or a missing person, in monitoring a hostage situation or when a judge issues a search warrant authorizing them. Any information gathered otherwise by a drone cannot be used in court and must be destroyed within 24 hours, the bill says.

The House added an amendment saying they can also be used "to protect life and property during crowd monitoring situations." In debate, crowds and traffic during University of Tennessee football games was cited as an example of where drone monitoring might be desirable."

The bill's sponsors project the use of "thousands" of drones over Tennessee.