When last we checked in with House Finance chairman Charles Sargent, he was frenetically trying to curry favor with conservatives to help bolster him against his formidable primary opponent. Sargent’s main hook was his support for the repeal of the Hall Income Tax. The way Chuck figured it, if he would help pass repeal of the tax, folks like AFP, Tea Party’s, etc. would back off a little.
Enter Gov. Haslam. The last few days he has been strong-arming Sargent, big time, telling him the state cannot afford the decrease in revenues at this time. Of course that hasn’t stopped the governor from spending on his favorite projects, such as Common Core and PARCC testing while issuing unfunded mandates to local school districts and raiding the Hope Scholarship Fund to pay people to go to community college.
But give the taxpayers some of their own money back? Oh no-o-o-o, not this governor. His position is to keep the onerous income tax on investments (like those for retirees), the taxpayers be damned.
So now Sargent finds himself between a Rocky Top and hard place. In recent days he has tried to slide off his support for repeal. Guess those caucus campaign contributions come with some strings attached, eh, Mr. Chairman?