By Joe Edwards, Associated Press
The makers of Jack Daniel’s whiskey can take a victory sip after a proposal by local officials to tax its barrels of booze was derailed before it could reach the Tennessee Legislature.
The Moore County Council in Lynchburg voted 10-5 Monday evening to rescind a vote asking lawmakers to authorize a local referendum on the proposal, which would have taxed Jack Daniel’s up to $5 million annually with the revenue going to local coffers.
Charles Rogers of Lynchburg, who had spearheaded the effort, said the issue “is now on life support.”
Jack Daniel’s is the world’s top-selling whiskey, distilled in the tiny town which has been celebrated in folksy, black-and-white advertisements for years.
State Rep. David Alexander, who represents Lynchburg and attended the meeting, said he considers the issue dead.
“It’s the will of the people,” he said of the council vote. “They have spoken.”
A distillery spokesman did not return an after-hours call Monday for comment.
A previous vote was 9-5 to send the proposal to the legislature, and Rogers said he was told the town had been depicted as greedy in worldwide news reports about the proposal since the first vote.
The 145-year-old distillery, owned by Louisville, Ky.-based Brown-Forman Corp., now pays $1.5 million in local property taxes. Distillery officials had opposed the measure, saying Jack Daniel’s is already paying its fair share.
Members of the legislature had said the proposal had little chance of passing.
The distillery, tucked away on 1,700 hilly acres in south-central Tennessee, has 450 employees, making it the largest industry in the small county. About 210,000 people visit the distillery annually, qualifying it as a top tourist draw in Tennessee.
Ironically, Moore County is dry, meaning the iconic Old No. 7 cannot be legally sold in the county, just distilled.
The campaign slogan President Barack Obama rode to victory three years ago is one Republicans should flip on its head in 2012, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels told a large crowd of Republicans in Nashville on Friday.
More from Michael Cass’ account of the State’smen’s Dinner speakers:
Daniels said the president’s campaign slogan, “Change You Can Believe In,” is “an empty phrase” that “can mean whatever the listener invests in it.”…
“I think we as Republicans, at least figuratively, need to turn that phrase,” he said. “We need to really present ourselves in Indiana and Tennessee and places elsewhere as people who favor change that believes in you, that believes you are an individual of dignity and a person who is fully up to the task of leading your own life, and we want you to have the maximum amount of your earned income to keep.”
Daniels, who lived near Bristol, Tenn., as a young child, was the keynote speaker at the Tennessee Republican Party’s annual Statesmen’s Dinner, which drew about 1,000 elected officials and party activists to the Nashville Convention Center. His appearance came less than two months after he decided not to run for the Republican nomination for president next year.
Daniels, who was a senior adviser to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, said he wouldn’t reconsider his decision, alluding to the family concerns he cited when he announced it in May.
“It would involve the changing of several hearts,” he told reporters before the dinner. “There are other ways to contribute.”
Daniels’ main contribution to American life has been an attack on working-class people, Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester said in a statement Wednesday.
“Tennessee Republicans have a surplus of bad ideas that make it harder for working people to get by or for their kids to get a decent education — there’s no need to steal inspiration from Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, the man who wrote the failed economic policies that led us into Bush’s recession,” Forrester said.
Note: See also Mike Morrow’s report, which makes available video excerpts from several speeches. An excerpt from his story:
The night played more like an affirmation of what the Republicans had accomplished rather than what they were about to do.
There were 1,150 people at the Nashville Convention Center, compared to 1,400 in 2010, when there had been an electric atmosphere and an historic sea change in Tennessee politics. The crowd had been more like 900 in 2009.
The dinner Friday raised $500,000 for the state GOP, according to party chairman Chris Devaney. Those funds will go toward Republican campaigns in 2012, when Devaney hopes they can deliver a “walkout-proof” majority in the Legislature, meaning the Democrats wouldn’t even have enough members to deny Republicans a quorum. Two more Republicans in each chamber would do the trick.
The Tennessean also posted a video of clips from the remarks of Gov. Bill Haslam, Sen. Lamar Alexander and Sen. Bob Corker HERE..
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Republican Party says the keynote speaker its annual Statesmen’s Dinner is Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a potential presidential candidate.
The party’s annual fundraiser is scheduled for July 15 in Nashville.
Daniels said on Tuesday that it won’t be long before he decides whether to run for president, but that he doesn’t have a timetable for making an announcement regarding the 2012 race.
The former White House budget director is being recruited by Republicans who hope his fiscal conservatism would appeal to voters alarmed by the national debt and big government.
The party press release is below.