Le’ me introduce you to my leetle friend, Manual.

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Is it just us or does the stink of corruption and inside dealing reek with this administration?

C’mon guys. The governor gives tacit approval to a $20 million fuel tax break for FedEx (Chairman & Founder: Fred Smith) – the same Fred Smith who sits on the board of directors of the governor’s family fuel business, Pilot/Flying J. The bill’s sponsor, Mark “Whitey” White, says it is needed to keep FedEx from moving some of its business to other states with lower tax rates on the aviation fuels business.

Now RTP always likes to get us some of them tax breaks whenever possible, but this is nuts. Following “Whitey’s” logic, we should just take a look at any industry in another state, reduce our tax rate on that industry to something lower than their home state, then sit back and watch the jobs just come pouring in. Admittedly, the stratagem worked wonders during Prohibition, when bootleggers lowered the tax rate on hootch to zero and saw the unemployment numbers plummet when a thousand gap-tooth hillbillies cranked up moonshine stills along every crick and holler in East Tennessee. But we doubt the efficacy of such a move like the one with Fed Ex.

Maybe “Whitey” is on to something, though. After all, it was said some of that stuff they used to (used to?) brew up in Cocke County could power a jet airplane while getting you higher than a kite. Of course the Cocke County Del Rio brand of aviation fuel was actually drinkable — unlike the rotgut in Trimble they want to pass off as “Tennessee whiskey” these days.

But we digress.

Did anyone stop to think this was possibly the least bit fishy? We do not give a crap about the merits of whether FedEx “deserved” the tax break. However, the political optics of such a deal are unquestioned: they suck.

And where is the vaunted news media on this story? Give Richard Locker credit for writing the story of the tax break, but to our knowledge, neither he nor anyone else in the MSM has bothered to note the 5,000lb conflict-of-interest sitting in the corner of the room. Are you guys lazy, incompetent or just in the tank for the governor (pick one)?

We are growing used to and exasperated with the governor’s inability/refusal to recognize even the most basic political perceptions. There were the putrid JonesLaSalle deals, the under the table payments to his lobbyist/advisor Tom Ingram, the targeting of and attacks on legislative incumbent members of his own party, the InsureTN debacle that the governor brought up twice in one session, the petulant refusal to allow state troopers to make an extra off-duty buck at this weekend’s NRA convention. This list goes on and on and on.

There have been nearly a dozen federal felony convictions so far for the infamous “manual rebate” scheme conducted by Pilot/Flying J. You would think someone in the governor’s office would have noticed the similarities to the latest scam and connected the dots.

After all, $20 million is one hell of a rebate, manual or otherwise. Just ask the folks in Cocke County.

 

[Editor’s note: For the delicate flowers at the Tennessean or one of the voices inside Gordon Bonnyman’s head who think the above references from the movie “The Sierra Madre” are somehow offensive to the millions of illegal aliens streaming across our border, we can only point out that the quote came straight from the HQs of Pilot/Flying J.

Ask the governor how much he made off the illegal “manual rebates.” Then get back to us, por favor]

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