A Corrupt Tax, and they know it.

Boss Doss tells Taxpayers:  “Bend over.”

In what has to be the most egregious and corrupt conflict-of-interest of the year, Barry “Boss” Doss is trying to jam through Haslam’s gas tax despite the state sitting on a $2 billion surplus. In an administration that has become legendary for it’s “crony capitalism” and sweetheart deals for favored business, that’s really saying something. That he and Haslam need Democrats to overcome the opposition against the tax within the House GOP caucus says it all.

What makes this even more insulting to the voters is that Doss owns a  paving company that is pre-certified by the state and TDOT.  Doss Brothers could make tons of money off of state contracts.

And we thought Washington, DC was a swamp.

We can hardly wait for the radio, direct mail, robocalls, push polls and TV ads in the primaries of every Republican voting for this.

Fish in a barrel.

 

 

Sniffing out a good story…

Why does the news media keep giving itself awards?

Because they can…

In their annual rite of navel-gazing and self-congratulatory adoration, the state’s MSM recently selected one of their own (the Associated Press) to decide which of them was professionally the prettiest.

In the category of Best Political Investigative Journalism, the AP gave the award to the Gannett/USA Today Tennessean‘s Dave Bouchert and Joel Ebert.  Bouchert & Ebert are not to be confused with the famed film critics, Siskel & Ebert.Siskel & Ebert’s highest ranking for movies was “Two Thumbs Up.”

NOT Bouchert & Ebert

In honor of their memory, RTP is awarding Bouchert & Ebert our coveted “Two Thumbs Up Your Butt” award for bringing down a hapless state legislator, Rep. Pants Candy (1 down, only 98 more to go…).  Someone alert the Pulitzer Committee about this duo’s groundbreaking journalism.  Their derring-do is recognized way beyond the pages of the newspaper.  Some say their stories are read as far away as Brentwood and Smyrna.

Of course the AP award would have meant so much more if there were more than just 3 or 4 political reporters left in the state.  But hey — in the news business these days, everybody gets a trophy!

Bouchert & Ebert accepting their award.

“Those guys really have a nose for news,”  said their editor, David Plazas,

Credit where credit is due…

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.

Governor, Harwell, House GOP leadership losing their grip.

There’s  no shame in losing a vote on the House floor.

But it’ a big deal when you lose the vote in your own caucus.

First it was the defeat of the instate tuition for illegals legislation.  Now this:

The gas tax bill may still pass, but this means in order to ram a gas tax increase down the throats of Tennessee taxpayers, the Republican leadership and the Governor are gong to need nearly every Democrat to vote with them and to ignore the clear majority of it’s caucus (55% -45% of those voting in the above survey).

A damning indictment of their tax increase.

Law of unintended consequences

Was the Gardenhire/White In-state Tuition for Illegals bill a Trojan Horse for deportation?

After the stunning defeat of the illegal tuition bill in the House Education Administration & Planning Committee, some members quietly (since doing so publicly would be politically incorrect, ya know) voiced concerns the legislation offering of taxpayer-subsidize college tuition to children of illegal aliens was poorly crafted and could expose the parents of thousands of illegal aliens to rapid deportation.

Seems that the forms that every student must fill out for college admission contains detailed information on the names, addresses and financial situation of those who are responsible for paying the bills for individual students.  If the parents are illegal, this application process could serve as a roadmap to the physical location of thousands of illegals and possibly their places of employment, making them ripe for a visit from ICE agents.

Oops.

The universities, whose main goal is to fill the seats with paying customers, have tried to quietly reassure legislators that that information would remain confidential.

Right.

Democrat legislators were deeply worried that under the Trump Administration, immigration authorities would find a way to blow through that confidentiality faster than Lois Lerner killed conservatives’ tax applications.  They had reason to be concerned.

But we here at RTP think the Dems were just being paranoid, since they all appear to be suffering from TDS (Trump Delusion Syndrome).  Still, in a rush to bully his legislation through, Sen. Gardenhire presented a poorly-drafted bill that could have had huge consequences, unintended or otherwise.

Regardless of the reasons, the defeat is a HUGE win for Rep. Judd Matheny and the Conservative Majority Caucus. If you don’t think committed conservatives can make a difference, just ask Paul Ryan what happened to his lousy ObamaCare “repeal” bill.

Typically, the liberal Tennessean called the vote a “brutal defeat” for those who think Tennessee taxpayers should underwrite tuition for illegal aliens.  Brutal?   We didn’t see and truncheons or firehoses being used – just public debate.

For the folks at the Gannett/USA Today Tennessean, we use a favored chant from the Left:

“THIS is what Democracy looks like.”

Live with it.

Okay, whose nose is growing the quickest?

Harwell Says Susan Richardson-Williams is a Liar?

When long-time Republican stalwart Susan Richardson Hyphen Williams excitedly revealed that Speaker Beth Harwell had recently called to say she was running for governor, Susan apparently let the cat out of the cellophane bag on Harwell’s guber-bid by posting the news on Facebook.

Her cover blown, Harwell quickly talked to an AP reporter to say that “no final decisions have been made and won’t be made until after the election.”  The problem with that statement is that it directly contradicts what Richardson-Williams says she was told by Harwell.

Look, this ain’t hard:  there is one question that no one is asking, so RTP will helpfully stick our collective noses into the discussion and just spit it out:

Q:  Did Harwell tell SRW she was running?  Yes or No?

If Harwell’s answer is “yes” then Harwell is lying to the public and the press.  If her answer is “No” then she is saying SRW is lying about their conversation.

Which is it Madam Speaker?

Kicking off a governor’s race by either misleading the public and/or calling a long-time GOP activist a liar is not a slick move.

If it looks like a duck….

She’s not Black…

She’s not an Indian…

This is NOT a tax cut.

The Shame of the Senate and Tennessee

Time to “Man Up,” boys…

While Tennessee Senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander have “officially” endorsed Judge Neal Gorsuch for the Supreme Court, as late as yesterday they were cowardly refusing to publicly say whether they would vote for the so-called “nuclear option” to force a vote on his confirmation, which is expected this Friday.

“But the two Tennesseans wouldn’t say whether they would support the so-called “nuclear option” to change Senate rules to allow the confirmation with a simple majority”.  — The Jackson Sun 4/4/2017

Really, Senators?

The key vote is not whether you will vote for Gorsuch, Lamar and Bob — it’s whether you will vote to allow majority-vote, bypassing the 60-vote rule to overcome the filibuster.  You know that.  And to pontificate about anything other than that is an insult to the intelligence of every citizen in the state.   Yesterday, in a TV news interview Corker was even questioned as to whether or not he was a RINO and was asked if was trying to cut some sort of deal with Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and the Democrats.

Just tell us if you will vote to stop the Democrats’ attempts to block an up-or-down vote, damn it, and quit jerking us around.

“Rules are for the little people…”

Harwell Gang caught red-handed trying to jam through Haslam’s Tax Increase.

Harwell forced to do a special re-vote after conservative legislators and anti-tax advocates call her out.

After the session on Thursday, members of the House Local Government Committee will be held in legislative “after-school detention.”

Seems that in their desperate rush to force the unpopular Haslam/Harwell gas tax increase through the House, Chairman Tim Wirgau and the Speaker faced a threatened press conference revolt by anti-tax legislators who said the ram-down violated well-established rules of procedure.  Harwell then promised to hold a “special committee meeting” following the Thursday House session to try and correct their heavy-handed power play screw-up

Maybe Beth should run for Governor.  She’s seems better at dictating than she is at leading…

Conflicts-of-Interest, anyone?

Meanwhile, no word on whether TDOT pre-certified, preferred road contractor Rep. Barry Doss will use one of his company’s roadgraders to help pave the way for the zombie-like gas tax increase bill.

For some people, “government” seems to be just another word for “feeding at the public trough.”

Yer truck can’t run on Coconut water…

At 1:30 today, the House Transportation Committee will meet in a key vote on Governor Haslam’s bill to raise taxes on gas and diesel fuel.  The political fallout from passing a gas tax increase while Tennessee feeds at the trough of a $ 2 Billion surplus looms particularly large for several legislators who plan to seek other offices.

Speaker Beth Harwell — wants to be governor. We can’t wait to see her ads and direct mail pieces touting her successful passage of a massive gas tax increase on working men and women in Tennessee. If given the choice to break a tie vote in the committee or lead the fight against the gas tax increase, we’re betting Beth will be hiding in the ladies room sipping coconut water as opposed to picking up the conservative banner dropped by Mark Green.  Make no mistake –Beth can kill the tax increase almost single-handedly. We are betting she won’t.

Senator Mark Norris — also wants to be governor.  Already on record as supporting the gas tax, Mark is hoping Beth slips the anchor chain of the gas tax around her own neck and dives in with him. Misery loves company!

Ron Travis — wants to challenge Cong. Scott DesJarlais.  Ron serves on the committee and will be a linchpin vote on whether or not the gas tax increase moves ahead. Ron should realize that running for Congress in the most rural district in the state while voting for a gas tax increase that hurts rural people the most, is not a great platform.  Families in our rural communities drive further to school, further to work, and further to the grocery store and already pay a larger percentage of their income in fuel.  But hey, maybe Ron can win by telling the voters down in Grundy County that his vote for the gas tax helped send their tax money to fund boondoggle mass transit programs in West Nashville.  Yeah, that’ll work.

Praise the Lord and pass the coconut water…