Harwell Cheats to Help Pass Gas Tax?
A while back, when Haslam’s Obamacare Expansion (which he dubbed “Insure TN”) went down in flames in a senate committee, liberals and the news media swung into full howl and demanded Beth Harwell do something to revive the legislation in the House. They even paid for a billboard in her district demanding she do so. She demurred.
This year Harwell is trying to make sure her discomfort of presiding over the defeat of the governor’s prime legislation is not repeated. Now the governor is trying to ram through a gas tax in a big rush (hoping to get it through before the opposition gets organized) and Beth has apparently put her thumb on the scales of the legislative process. Actually she has put her thumb, hand, an arm, a leg and a case of coconut water on the scales just to make sure the tax increase moves right along.
Earlier today, in one of the infamous “committee planning meetings” which leadership uses to wire ahead for votes and sniff out opponents, it leaked out that Harwell intends to bastardize the entire committee process. It appears she is going to yank the gas tax bill of the House transportation sub-committee, where its passage is in dire jeopardy, and take it straight to the full transportation committee, where she and the governor have enough votes for a cram down.
As usual, RTP has many sources and tipsters, one of whom generously shared the moment in the meeting where Rep. Barry Doss hilariously fumbles around and kinda, sorta admits that such skullduggery might be in the works and he will be sure let someone know something, someday if he ever finds out more information. Maybe.
Yep, the Harwell Fix appears to be in.
So Beth is abusing the system to get her way and that of the governor? Gee, what a surprise. It wasn’t like they weren’t warned that the New & Improved Beth who ran for re-election as Speaker was nothing more than B.S. to get re-elected. We bet now a lot of legislators wish they had voted for Jimmy Matlock.
Enjoy the Speaker of Sleaze as well as higher gas prices, all you legislators who vote for the Gas Tax. And just know that when you are in your primary battle 18 months from now, you will be in good company. Right there on the ballot with you and your electoral hell will be none other than Beth Harwell running for Governor.
Manipulative and manipulated politicians who slammed through a huge tax increase, all on the same ballot. Now that’s a winning ticket.
In tonight’s speech will the Governor reveal how Pilot Oil could make millions off the gas tax increase?
So far, the arguments we have heard on why the state needs a gas tax increase all ring hollow:
“We need more money for roads.”
Ahem, we currently have $2 billion in surplus taxes squeezed out of Tennesseans. When you run through that, Governor, get back to us.
“We have $6 billion in unfunded projects.”
Really? Says who? The transportation bureaucrats and their allies in the road building industry? If your toddler sees a box of cookies and you ask him how many he wants and he says “all of them,” would you give him the whole box? Of course not. The crew here at Rocky Top all think we need bigger and nicer houses, but we lack the necessary funds. All told it comes to about $4,000,000 in our personal “unfunded projects.” See how easy it is to pull a meaningless number out of your butt? Nice try, guys.
“We need a more stable revenue stream to fund transportation.”
Yeah, that is the same load of bull we heard when Haslam’s father was pushing for a state income tax 15 years ago. The argument then was “the sales tax system will not be able to keep up.” Well that “antiquated and insufficient” sales tax system just produced a $2 billion surplus.
And as background to all of this, don’t you find it curious the Governor is making a mad push to get the gas tax through, even though President (choke on it) Trump has announce he is going for a huge national investment in infrastructure? Wouldn’t it be prudent to wait until we can see how much Tennessee might get in that proposal before we rush out and raise taxes?
So what’s really going on here? All the above arguments are pretty damning against the gas tax. Could there be another reason why Bill Haslam is so hell bent and jamming his tax down our gas tanks?
Here is potentially how it would work to the Haslam family’s financial favor (we inserted “potentially” because our lawyers wanted us to. It is our personal belief that this is exactly how it could go down.) Here are two ways Pilot could make a bunch of moolah off the gas tax increase — and it would all be legal:
Play the Float
The gas tax will be collected at the pump. Pilot is the largest distributor of diesel fuel in the state. They will collect the taxes for every gallon of fuel pumped for the state, every minute of every day. Annually, that could come to tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars collected by Pilot for the state. BUT, Pilot only has to remit those taxes every 90 days (quarterly). That means they would have access to millions of dollars to “play the float” making money of the interest while out tax dollars sit in their bank account. That could result in millions in easy money for Pilot Oil.
Pad the Balance Sheet
For as long as the tax money stays in Pilot’s state tax escrow account each quarter, the millions they collect can legally be added to the company’s daily balance sheet. And that means their accounts look even better when they go to financial institutions for loans, more favorable terms, etc. In other words, they can use our tax money to make their books more attractive and help make them money in the process.
Is this what will happen? Could Pilot actually do this? Did they rip-off truckers for millions with fraudulent “manual rebates” that landed them in Federal court?
Can’t wait for the speech.
Well Fargo “whistle blower” site disappears from government website.
Has anybody checked with Bob Corker? We’re betting he knows what happened.
Sen. Elizabeth “Fauxcahontas” Warren said today the site created by the Feds to help investigate the huge scandals facing Wells Fargo has mysteriously been removed by the U.S. Dept. of Labor.
Warren, who is the candidate of choice for President in 2020 among those on the Looney Left, is far from a disinterested observer. But Sen. Big Chief Wannabe may have a point. Her colleague on the Banking Committee, Sen. Bob Corker, has million$ of rea$on$ to want the whole Wells Fargo debacle to go away, as do many others who have been feeding at the Wells trough for years.
On the chance that he knows anything about the disappearance of the Wells Fargo whistle-blower site, RTP has helpfully sent Sen. Corker this suggestion on what he might want to do right away. It (almost) worked for Hillary.
How the “Pussyhat” got its name
Local “poet” says Trump has “wet dreams” about his own daughter. Pens perverted diatribe against white people and Franklin, TN.
Tennessean pours on the adulation while censoring the most disgusting parts of her “poem.”
“Fake news” our ass. How about contrived, highly-edited and depraved news? A 19-year-old community college student from middle Tennessee, who had her poem read to the recent protest rally in Washington by the reliably left wingnut actress Ashley Judd, was catapulted to questionable fame by the adoring mainstream news media, with The Tennessean leading the way.
The Tennessean took the disturbing ramblings of Nina Donavan and deified her in a slobbering article about her “art” and new-found fame.
But what the Tennessean cowardly edited out of Ms. Donovan’s poem were parts like this:
“I am not as nasty as your own daughter being your [Trump’s] favorite sex symbol, like your wet dreams infused with your own genes.”
What kind of sicko thinks of such disgusting imagery? Artistes such as Ms. Nina Donovan, of course.
According to her LinkedIn page, Ms. Donovan is a former “party hostess” at Chucky Cheese’s in Cool Springs in Franklin. Let’s hope all she did was seat people. We would hate to think she was actually preparing or handling our children’s food.
Ms. Donovan went on to write:
“I’m not as nasty as Confederate flags being tattooed across my city.”
Uh, really, Nina? Several of the Rocky Top crew live in Franklin and for the life of us we cannot recall a “confederate flag” popping up in public view since some eccentric old fart erected the hideous Nathan Bedford Forrest statue and flag on I-65 many years ago — before you were even born. Ironically, he also called the ugly statue “art” and built a fence around it to keep people from tearing it down. Sort of like the fence against criticism the Tennessean was trying to build around you.
So unless we missed a Klan rally on the Franklin square recently, we believe Nina’s artistic claims of Confederate conspiracy to the contrary qualify as a big, fat, hairy lie and a slander against the fine folk of Franklin and Tennessee.
“I feel Hitler in these streets.”
Surely, surely Ms. Donovan, you are not comparing President (choke on it) Trump to Hitler. Hard to be Hitler when your daughter and grandchildren are Jewish, like President (choke on it) Trump’s but hey, Nina, never let rational facts ever get in the way of a spitting, slavering whacked-out diatribe, right?
But what serious literary genius can exist without a serious image for the jacket cover of her forthcoming “Anthology of Perverted Poems that Prove Tennessee and America Suck.”
How so very très, seriouso, Ms. Donovan. We hear it will be published by George Soros and the Alinsky Press and will soon to be on store shelves right next to the “pussy caps” (or as we refer to them in Tennessee, the “Steve Cohen caps”).
Is Ms. Donovan so mired in her social justice warrior ideology and cloak of perceived superiority that she can say whatever she wants?
Well guess what? Turns out she can say whatever she wants. That right is provided to her by the U.S. Constitution. The same document that also allows the Tennessean to operate as though it were a legitimate news source.
Enjoy the freedom of speech that you and so many of your ilk try to deprive others who have the gall to disagree with you, as evidenced by your puerile ponderings, Nina.
We congratulate Ms. Donovan on exercising her rights. But we offer sympathy and a suspicion that her new found adulation will set her on a lifetime path of bitter harangues as a tiresome scold whose left-wing demented diatribes will serve as their own justification.
As President (choke on it) Trump would say:
As for Ashley Judd, any future plans to threaten to run for office in Kentucky again? Yeah, we didn’t think so.
And as for the Tennessean we also say thank you for living down to your predictably low and cowardly standards with your ham-handed cut and paste selective editing. We have come to expect nothing less.
In closing, we offer a sneak preview of Ms. Donovan’s latest poetic masterpiece:
Roses are red,
Pussycaps are pink.
When I grow up,
I want to learn how to think.
— a poem by Nina Donovan.
With a $2 BILLION tax surplus, Haslam says:
After over-collecting $2 billion dollars from Tennessee taxpayers, Gov. Bill Haslam today said he thinks Tennesseans are not taxed enough and wants to raise the taxes on that most basic of middle class commodities: gasoline.
Reports indicate Haslam is trying to sugarcoat the tax increase by promising to “index” the taxes (meaning they can go up without additional legislative approval) and to cut a little from the food and/or sales tax rate.
What is astonishing is that this proposal comes on the eve of the inauguration of Donald Trump as the next President (we just love to keep saying that, so choke on it liberals). Trump was elected by middle class outrage over politicians who do dumb things like, well, raise taxes when you are sitting on a $2 billion surplus.
Son of State Income Tax
Of course it should come as no real surprise (especially since Haslam publicly opposed Trump’s election) because many of the very same people who supported a state income tax 15 years ago are back at it. Who are they, you might ask? Well for one thing, the biggest proponent of a state income tax was none other than Bill Haslam’s father, Jim Haslam. Another advocate of raising taxes is Rep. Steve McDaniel. Recent readers may remember Steve-o as the incompetent boob who royally screwed up the Durham investigation that nearly cost Harwell her job. But Steve has another distinction: he is the only GOP House member who voted for the state income tax still in office. All other Republican House members who voted for the state income tax were defeated or retired (many by force).
Here’s a little reminder of the last time the politicians tried something like what Haslam is trying now.:
Let the scene above play out in legislators’ minds when they consider voting for this tax increase.
So how can we compare the state income tax effort to the current gas tax increase proposal? Easy. Keep in mind the people who backed the income tax screamed that the sales tax model would “bankrupt the state” and was an “antiquated” system that was “insufficient” and would create “huge shortfalls” in needed revenue.
Well that “antiquated system” has produced a surplus of $2 billion freakin’ dollars! And now they are saying that we need a new stream of revenue to pay for roads, that the old system is “insufficient.” Sound familiar? So much for phony dire warnings and BS reasons for raising the taxes on gasoline.
While a sort of “group think” has settled on some GOP legislators who think they can get away with raising taxes while sitting on a huge surplus, they should think again. The Republican primary is only 18 months away. We can’t wait to see the direct mail and hear the radio ads. Here are couple of (hypothetical) examples:
“Vote for Rep. Barry Doss. He raised your taxes.”
Or even better:
“Sen. Paul Bailey is a pain in my gas.”
Good luck with that.
It has not been lost on us that in recent confirmation hearings, Sen. Bob Corker was asking a lot of questions of Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson, the guy who got the job Corker wanted. It’s called “vetting” in Washington-ese.
But this week, the Senate Finance Committee will publicly examine the finances and any potential conflicts of interest of the Trump nominee for Secretary of the Treasury, Steve Mnuchin – yet another job in which Corker was reputed to be interested.
But since this confirmation hearing is on a subject about things in which Corker has a personal financial interest, we thought it would be interesting if Mnuchin was asking the questions of Corker instead of the other way around. It’s too bad that Corker is on the Banking instead of the Finance Committee, so he will not have the opportunity to pontificate from the dais as he is prone to do. Because having Corker question someone else about potential financial conflicts would be about as useful as having Teddy Kennedy demonstrate safe-driving skills. But it should be helpful in understanding why a senator who is a walking, talking conflict-of-interest is qualified to unilaterally question someone– anyone — else about potential conflicts.
And we at RTP are nothing, if not helpful.
[Editor’s note: Our source for these question came straight from the Russians and we also checked them with CNN and Buzzfeed, so you just know they are accurate.]
And if Corker did have the opportunity to participate, we think it would go something like this:
Mnuchin: Mr. Corker, I want to thank you for allowing me to appear today. Just as you have been doing your due diligence and looking into my financial background, I have been looking into yours. And I have to say, Senator, I am fascinated by your ability to accumulate about $100 million in personal wealth while holding down a full-time job as a U.S. senator. As the incoming secretary of the Treasury, your expertise is worth a few questions, if I may.
Corker: Why thank you, Mr. Mnuchin. What would you like to know?
Mnuchin: Well first off, just how did you amass $100 million while serving fulltime as senator?
Corker: Day trading and shorting the housing market. Made a killing.
Mnuchin: Indeed you did. My research shows you personally accounted for nearly 90% of all the day trades made by other sitting senators combined. And you did so primarily trading in something called CBL. Is that correct?
Corker: Yep. I used to work for CBL, back in the day. Those guys are all friends of mine. And I might add that Wells Fargo bailed them out in the financial crisis.
Mnuchin: Very impressive, Senator. Maybe someday we can get together for lunch and you can tell me how you managed to reap major profits for you, your wife and two of your children while avoiding the rather obvious conflicts of interest and suspected insider trading.
Corker: Well I didn’t avoid it entirely, Mr. Mnuchin. You of course have seen the Wall Street Journal and other articles exposing those conflicts. And for all I know, the FBI and maybe even the SEC might be investigating my rather curious investment practices. Say….maybe you can help me with that from your new position.
But yeah, I’ll put you in touch with some of my friends at CBL and maybe even the folks down at the shopping center in Mobile. It’s being built by an old CBL executive buddy of mine. Most of the easy profits were all scooped up when Wells Fargo came in with financing just days after I invested millions. But hey, people drop out every day, so maybe I could have my blind trust call your blind trust – know what I mean (wink, wink)?
Mnuchin: Sounds good. If I were to be confirmed for this position I would probably need to divest myself of many of my assets. Can you hook a brother up with anyone you know who might help me get rid of some millions of dollars in nagging contingent liabilities and who would be willing to buy my assets for more than their worth? You know, a little non-recourse financing would be just the ticket.
Corker: You mean like my friend Henry Luken? Wells Fargo bailed his butt out as well. Hey, I got him right here on speed dial. Let me introduce the two of you:
[makes phone call]: Hello, Luken? Mnuchin. Mnuchin, Luken.
Mnuchin: Perhaps another time, Senator. But while you’re at it, could you drop a line to one of your hedge fund contributors to see if there are any opportunities similar to the deal you got when you shorted the housing market?
Corker: No problemo. Anything else I can do for you before they take the vote on your confirmation?
Mnuchin: One last thing. Once I get the Obama hacks out of the department, I am going to need to staff up. Any resumes or recommendations?
Corker: I got just the guy. How about my old chief of staff Armand deKeyser?
Mnuchin: Is he qualified?
Corker: Well I got him straight from the lobbying firm where Wells Fargo was one of their biggest clients.
Mnuchin: Let me get back to you on that. Wells Fargo is sort of personae non gratae at Treasury these days. But I know if they were good enough for Wells, they were good enough for you. Anyone else?
Corker: Yeah, Michael Bright. He was my senior financial policy advisor on Banking when I was shorting the crap out of the housing market during the financial collapse. Previously he worked for two of the biggest disasters in the housing crisis, Countrywide and Wachovia.
Mnuchin: Oh, wow, a twofer. Send me his resume. This has been very helpful, Senator. Thank you.
One last question, Senator.
Mnuchin: Aren’t you awfully hot wearing that bag over your head?
You want more Trump?
This is how you get more Trump.
House Black Caucus demands “more diversity” in Haslam cabinet. Fail to make similar demands of the Senate Democrat Caucus.
Hypocrisy and delusion reared their equally ugly heads recently when the Tennessee House Black Caucus demanded that Gov. Bill Haslam make his cabinet more diverse by adding more minorities.
Their demand came only days after the sole remaining African American in Haslam’s cabinet was forced to resign under a cloud of accusations of mismanagement and worse.
No word from the Black Caucus on how they are going to rectify the gross racial imbalance in the Senate Democratic Caucus, which is now 60% African American. The latest census shows that percentage is 4 times the percentage of Black Tennesseans in the state’s population.
Who knew the state Democratic party was such a cesspit of racism and exclusion?
A Hearty “Welcome Back” to the new General Assembly!
Top House administration positions are now all filled by Naifeh Democrats. (Silly legislators — and you thought the House was run by Republicans.)
Harwell opens new session with a speech on ethics. Fails to mention she tossed McCord out for ethical problems, or the ethical problems of her former chief-of-staff, or the ethical problems of two of her committee chairmen, etc., etc., etc., etc.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. After a disastrous year of ham-handed investigations and numerous ethical scandals all linked to the Speaker’s office, Harwell is the early favorite to win the 2017 Chutzpah Award. Not only did she start off the session with a speech about “ethics,” she followed up her “landslide” (by 4 votes) re-election as Speaker by declaring the top three posts in her administration would go to Democrats who were hired by former uber-partisan Democrat Speaker Jimmy Naifeh.
As of today’s opening gavel, the positions of House Clerk, head of House personnel and legal counsel to the Speaker are all held by Democrats who were hired by Naifeh. And please, spare us the bull crap they are either now Republicans or somehow “non-partisan.”
Whassamatter, Beth? Out of the approximately three million Republicans in the state of Tennessee, all you could come up with is three Democrats to head up these important slots?
What a way to build confidence in your leadership abilities, Beth. Why, rewarding Democrats who spent years trying to keep Republicans from controlling the General Assembly is just the thing you need to kick-start a race for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. Good luck with that.
Enjoy the session, y’all. It should be a real hoot.