An Opinion: Haslam Weakens Regulations, Attacks Transparency

With two legislative sessions under his belt, we have learned that when you elect Bill Haslam, you elect a coterie of advisors, opines Metro Pulse.
In Knoxville he listened to Bill Lyons and Larry Martin, and got sound advice more often than not. Pilot Oil’s corporate interests had limited overlap with the city’s powers, so greed’s tentacles barely tickled Haslam.
At the state level, they have gotten a grip. In Nashville he listens to different advice and operates with less disclosure.
While Haslam is to be commended for making Amazon collect sales taxes, his overall stance toward corporate interests has been supplication. He has weakened Tennessee’s already laggard regulatory agencies and launched an attack on transparency. At least he is ashamed enough to want to hide the financial interests he and his cronies operate from.
…Haslam has expanded the governor’s power to write “FastTrack” checks with limited disclosure, so financial ties among developers, contractors, local politicians, and administration officials get obscured.
…But erosions in accountability and enforcement do not tell the full story. Bill Haslam can be a passionate regulator when his financial interests allow it. Right now the state website urges Tennesseans to “only use licensed home contractors.” “Always ask for their Tennessee license ID number and verify their status online at verify.tn.gov. Ask for a written contract and proof of insurance.” Good advice. Too bad citizens can’t verify enforcement of water pollution permits in nearby rivers and creeks so easily.

Leave a Reply