Stop the Presses!
Rocky Top Agrees With Harwell!
It was bound to happen sometime. RTP has been openly critical of Harwell in the past – and deservedly so.
But now Harwell, who is contemplating a run for governor, finds herself in the unusual position of being opposed by pro-gas tax legislators, many of whom she personally appointed to their exalted positions on key committees.
Harwell has offered an alternative to the Haslam Gas Tax increase. While we didn’t agree with everything in her proposal, the crew took a vote (sans popsicle sticks) and decided the Harwell plan was far superior to the dog crap offered by Haslam, Sargent, Doss, McCormick, et al.
But earlier this week Harwell was openly dissed in the House Finance Committee, with the dissing being led by several people who claimed in the past to be among her most ardent allies. It was, without a doubt, an embarrassing and humiliating rebuke of the Speaker. (And RTP knows how to be disrespectful to the Speaker. But then again, no one on the Rocky Top crew has been appointed to committee chairmanships by her, so we give ourselves a pass.).
So now what? It’s quite simple: This is Harwell’s “Sister Souljah” moment. If she is to have any credibility to be elected the leader of the entire state as governor, she has been given the rare opportunity to demonstrate decisively and dramatically she is up to the job. She can do so by defying those who want to pass a new and permanent tax while we sit on $2 billion in tax surpluses. Ironically, she has a firm base of support to act from among her usual critics — the conservatives in the GOP caucus.
It should not take a terrible amount of arm-twisting to either get her plan passed, or failing that, to kill the ill-conceived Haslam Improve Act.
If she can’t accomplish that, she has no business running for governor.