No academic funding or state money will be used to bail out the University of Tennessee athletics department should sagging ticket sales and the cost of a multimillion-dollar coaching change cause another budget deficit, officials tell the News Sentinel. “We’ve made a strong statement that we’re not using state funds to backfill athletics,” said Chris Cimino, vice chancellor of finance. “We’ve done all we’re going to do.”
Last month, the school announced a three-year, $18 million reprieve in donations the athletics department makes to student scholarships, fellowships and discretionary academic funds.
In the meantime, the department is facing as much as $9.4 million to buy out former head football coach Derek Dooley and his staff, another $18.2 million over six years in salary for new coach Butch Jones, $3 million annually for new assistant football coaches and another $1.4 million to buy out Jones’ contract at the University of Cincinnati. Last year, the department reported a $4 million shortfall in its nearly $100 million annual budget.
“While it’s too early to state the exact situation 6½ months from now, our revenues and expenses are on par with what we expected at this point,” UT athletics department spokesman Jimmy Stanton said in a statement, referring to June budget projections.
To cut costs, 17 layoffs were announced in April as part of the consolidation of the women’s and men’s athletic departments. The changes resulted in a $2.5 million saving.
Gov. Bill Haslam and Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire have sent a letter to two U.S. Senate Finance Committee leaders urging action before the end of the year on legislation allowing states to collect sales taxes on Internet sales. The bill is known as the “Marketplace Fairness Act.”
The letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus and Sen. Orrin Hatch, ranking Republican on the panel, says the lack of state tax collection on Internet sales has created “an artificial price disparity” between online retailers and traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, who must collect sales taxes.
“We understand you would prefer to take up the Marketplace Fairness Act next year in the context of wide-ranging, comprehensive tax reform. Frankly, our Main street businesses and states cannot afford to wait. This is our best chance to pass this important legislation and we urge your support for enacting S. 1832 this year,” the letter says.
The letter was distributed to media by the National Governors Association. The full letter is available HERE.
News release from Tennessee Republican Party:
NASHVILLE, TN – The TNGOP State Executive Committee today (Saturday) re-elected by acclamation Chris Devaney to a second full term as Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party. The election was held during the committee’s December meeting at the Hilton Garden Inn in Nashville.
“It is an honor the State Executive Committee has elected me to serve another term,” said Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney. “I look forward to working with Republicans across the state to strengthen our Party by effectively communicating our message to as many Tennesseans possible and want to thank committee members for this opportunity to help move our party forward for another two years.
“The Tennessee Republican Party has experienced great success, but it is critical we begin efforts now to build on that success in coming elections,” continued Devaney.
“Moving forward, it is important that we continue to expand the base that the Republican Party has had over the years in Tennessee. It is important to continue to recruit qualified men and women to serve, to continue building our county parties and to reach out to minority groups in our state and let them know they have a home in the Republican Party.”
Chris Devaney was first elected Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party on May 30, 2009. He led the State Party’s efforts to elect Republicans in the historic 2010 Midterm Elections which resulted in Republicans taking the governorship, gaining a Congressional majority, and increasing majorities in the General Assembly. This year, history was made again when Republicans gained supermajorities in the State House and State Senate. Prior to serving as TRP Chairman, Chris worked as State Director for U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), was an aide to U.S. Senators Fred Thompson (R-TN) and Phil Gramm (R-TX), served as Executive Director at the TRP and assisted with other campaigns across the country.
Chris and his wife Heather live in Chattanooga with their four children and attend Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church.
State Republican party officials never responded to George Korda’s request for a party spokesman to appear on his radio talk show, prompting him to quote scripture in a column. Here’s a suggestion to the Tennessee Republican Party: it should brush up on Proverbs 16:18 as a reminder of what pride goeth before.
Here’s the verse: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.’
This message isn’t directed at Republican voters, officeholders, but at the party apparatus located on Nashville’s 21st Avenue.
…The Tennessee GOP is on top. As the old saying goes, getting there is hard. Staying there is harder. Staying humble and responsive are helpful attributes in this effort.
A check of the state party’s website contains a message from the chairman, Chris Devaney. Its content is not untypical. What’s noteworthy are that the words ‘I’ or ‘my’ appear eight times in five paragraphs.
…The GOP party staff is another issue.
Several weeks ago this columnist contacted both the state Democratic and Republican parties to request guests to appear on my Sunday afternoon radio show on WNOX-FM, 100.3. The Democrats responded with a spokesman in about 15 minutes. The Republicans, not so fast.
The first call to the Tennessee Republican Party went days without being answered.
Then a follow-up call came from a young man seeking information about the show. The conversation ended with a promise to confirm or refuse the request. It never came. An e-mail sent through the party’s website went unanswered. A call to the party office was taken by a very nice young lady who said the message would be passed on to the right person. No response.
That’s either wretched staff work or it’s an attitude of we’re the tall hogs at the trough and we’ll get back to people when we want, or if we want. Then again, it could be just me (note to detractors: you’ve been thrown a softball to hit).
Republican state House candidate Lauri Day suffered collateral damage in an attack sent by her own party against a Democratic candidate in Sumner County, reports the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle. Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney said in an Oct. 2 news release that Steve Glaser, a Democratic candidate for state House District 44, should drop out of the race because of unpaid taxes. Devaney wrote that Glaser’s tax liens exhibited “a pattern of just refusing to pay his fair share.”
Glaser owes nearly $88,000 to the IRS, and at least 15 liens by federal and state tax collectors have been filed between 1988 and August of this year against him, according to the release.
“What arrogance for him to think he could run for office and actually serve in the Legislature. Instead of campaigning to have Tennesseans pay his salary, he should be working a second job to pay his bills,” Devaney said in the release. “Steve Glaser should do what’s right and suspend his campaign until his taxes are paid in full.”
The Tennessee Democratic Party pointed out Monday morning that Devaney’s attack should also apply to Day.
“There’s just one problem – in his zeal to attack a Democrat, Devaney has effectively said that candidate for state House Lauri Day should resign from her race in order to get a second job,” spokesman Sean Braisted wrote in a news release.
Day, who is running against Democratic Rep. John Tidwell in District 74, has a $46,000 lien against her home for unpaid federal income taxes.
“This is just blatant hypocrisy on the part of the Tennessee Republican Party,” said state Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester in the news release. “Either Devaney needs to call on his candidate, Lauri Day, to drop out of her race and get another job, or he needs to come clean and admit that he doesn’t actually mean what he says.”
…Tennessee Republican Party Executive Director Adam Nickas said the cases were different because Glaser had not been up front with voters.
“He came out with desperate and meritless attacks against his Republican opponent while ignoring his excessive amount of unpaid taxes, which is well-documented, even while his campaign touts more government spending just like John Tidwell,” Nickas wrote in an e-mail.
“Lauri Day, on the other hand, has been up-front with the voters and, unlike the Democrats, has been running a campaign based on the important issues facing our state.”
Day said on Monday that she may have mentioned her tax issues on a radio show prior to the Republican primary. The liens first received widespread attention following a Sept. 10 article in The Leaf-Chronicle.
Gov. Bill Haslam, who assigned a task force to develop a school voucher program for Tennessee, says that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll push for passage of the resulting recommendation in the General Assembly next year, according to TNReport. The governor said the state needs to have a serious discussion about a school vouchers program, but said he’s still undecided whether he’ll throw his full support behind a proposal due to him later this fall. A Haslam-appointed task force stopped short of firming up details of a proposed plan Wednesday.
“A lot of it depends on what it looks like. Let’s get the very best form, see what it looks like for Tennessee, then we as an administration will decide where we’ll be on that,” Haslam told reporters after a Nashville economic development announcement.
The state task force is still torn on key aspects of a proposal to use taxpayer money to pay for students to attend the private, parochial, charter or non-zoned public school of their choice. Major sticking points range from when the system would kick in to which students could cash in.
“You can get the policy right but still screw things up on the ground,” said Chris Barbic, a task force member and superintendent of the state’s Achievement School District, an arm of the state Department of Education charged with turning around failing schools.
Barbic, who founded a successful charter school in Texas before joining the Haslam administration in 2011, said he knows the state is juggling a handful of education reforms right now but said there’s no use in waiting to come up with a voucher plan.
“Parents get to figure out where they buy bread and toothpaste, and we’re going to limit their options on where they send their kids to school?” he said. “I have a hard time with that.”
The Republican-led General Assembly is anxious for the recommendations of the task force after the governor put off the issue of offering “opportunity scholarships” this year in favor of more study about what a voucher program would look like in Tennessee. Speakers of both chambers say they, too, expect vouchers to be a key issue in the 2013 legislative session.
Chris Anderson, a Chattanooga City Council candidate, publicly told the media Wednesday that he is gay, reports the Times-Free Press. “I’m not really coming out because I’ve been open for years,” he said.
Anderson, the first openly gay candidate to run for elected office in Chattanooga history, said he wants his campaign to be transparent and he wants the contest set for March 2013 to be honest. Anderson is running against current City Councilman Manny Rico.
He said he expects some amount of backlash due to his sexual preference.
“I’m sure there will be people to use it as such,” he said. “But I think the voters are smart enough to see through that.”
Devaney Cheers Release from Tennessee Republican Chairman Chris Devaney:
Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney released the following statement on the selection of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s running mate:
“Paul Ryan is the right choice to serve as Governor Romney’s running mate. Ryan has immense experience, including a knowledge and grounding on fiscal issues and the economy, something we are sorely lacking at Pennsylvania Avenue currently. Romney and Ryan will make a great team for the USA.” Forrester Jeers Release from Tennessee Democratic Chairman Chip Forrester:
Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester issued a statement following Mitt Romney’s choice of Rep. Paul Ryan to be his running mate.
“There’s no doubt what Romney-Ryan politics would mean for Tennessee – budget-busting tax breaks for the wealthy, greater burdens for working families, fewer health care options for women, and less security for seniors who’ve worked their whole lives for some peace of mind.
“Tennesseans wholly reject the Romney-Ryan plan to end Medicare as we know it and shift millions of dollars in health care costs to Tennessee seniors through a paltry voucher scheme.
“Our children and our economy simply cannot afford the deep cuts Romney and Ryan want to make education — from Head Start to college aid. These are investments that are critical to a safe and secure future for all Tennesseans.
“The Romney-Ryan ticket would also giveaway a $250,000 tax cut to millionaires and billionaires at a time we should be working together to balance our budget.
“The Romney-Ryan plan is irresponsible and outrageous. Moreover, it’s just plain wrong for Tennessee.”
The National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund says state Senate candidate Frank Niceley has been “deliberately misleading voters” by saying in campaign literature that his NRA rating is “A+” instead of the “C” that has was assigned for the 2012 primary.
The fund’s president, Chris Cox, warned Niceley in a letter that his rating could be lowered further unless the “misrepresentation” is ended.
Mike Alder, a spokesman for Niceley’s campaign, said the candidate as a state representative had an “A+” in his last NRA rating and the rating was not changed until July 23. Before that, he said, literature stated that Niceley “has had” the “A+” and that was accurate.
Immediately after the rating was changed, Alder said, the campaign moved to eliminate the reference to “A+” in all references, including “tossing out” about 2,000 hand cards.
The new ratings leave Hobart Rice as the highest rated candidate in the 8th Senate District primary with an “A Q,” which means he is rated on the basis of a questionnaire answers and has no voting record.
The NRA has also lowered its previous ratings of some other legislative candidates, notably including House Republican Caucus Chairman Debra Maggart. She now has a “D” and the NRA has spent $75,000 on attacking her and supporting her opponent, Courtney Rogers, who got a special non-incumbent “A” and an endorsement.
— Note: NRA Tennessee legislator grades page is HERE.
News release from Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey’s office:
NASHVILLE – Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey today announced the appointment of former State Representative Chris Clem to the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission.
“Chris has spent a career both in and out of the legislature highly engaged in judicial issues. I can think of no one more qualified to evaluate the judiciary than my friend, Chris,” said Lt. Governor Ramsey. “This state needs high quality judges who interpret the law and do not legislate from the bench. With his experience, insight and integrity, I am confident Chris Clem will work hard to ensure Tennessee has a judicial branch of which it can be proud. I’m extremely pleased he has once again answered the call to serve.”
A fifth generation Tennessean, Clem was a leading conservative Republican in the Tennessee Legislature from 2000 to 2006 representing House District 27. A graduate of the University of Tennessee, Clem has represented clients in complex litigation and personal injury claims for almost twenty years.
Clem is currently an attorney at Samples, Jennings, Ray & Clem, PLLC and is a certified public accountant. He lives in Chattanooga with his wife, Liz. They have two children, a son and a daughter.
The Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission reviews the performance of appellate judges using surveys, interviews and other information, as required by law. The Commission uses these evaluations to publish a report in which the Commission recommends appellate judges for retention or replacement. Of the nine members of the Commission, two are appointed by the Speaker of the Senate, two are appointed by the Speaker of the House and five are appointed by the Judicial Council.
Among the qualities the commission looks for in the judges are integrity, knowledge and understanding of the law, an ability to communicate, preparation and attentiveness, service to the profession, effectiveness in working with other judges and court personnel.