Haslam to RNC: Government is not bad unless out of control

Speaking to the Republican National Committee at Memphis, Gov. Bill Haslam said the party should take a greater role in national conversations concerning the size of government and income inequality, reports The Commercial Appeal.

One notion that exists, Haslam said, is that Republicans hate government. He compared government to fire — out of control, it’s a bad thing, but under control, it can have vital uses.

“Government is not bad, it’s just bad when it’s out of control,” Haslam said. When taxpayers send the government tax dollars, he said, “We should give them full value back for every dollar they give us.”

Haslam spoke at a luncheon during the RNC’s spring meetings, where the governor dined between RNC chair Reince Priebus and state party chairman Chris Devaney.

The meetings started Wednesday and run through Friday. National committee members from across the country are here to help shape the party’s policy, addressing issues such as the presidential primary debate schedule and the 2016 national convention.

…Speaking of income inequality, Haslam said Democrats’ solution is to tax people more.

“Guess what: The math doesn’t work,” he said. “There’s not enough rich people you can tax enough to make up that gap.”

Haslam said 50 years of big government programs haven’t worked. “We’re never going to fix poverty until we fix education,” he said, and then touted his recent Tennessee Promise plan to provide free community college tuition.