News release from governor’s office:
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and First Lady Crissy Haslam joined Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder and Major General Terry “Max” Haston of the Tennessee Military Department to pay tribute to three Tennesseans killed in action, including a soldier previously missing in action for 62 years.
Sergeant Jacob M. Schwallie of Clarksville, was fatally injured by a roadside bomb on May 7, 2012 in the Ghazi Province, Afghanistan. Schwallie graduated from Rossview High School in 2007 and enlisted in the United States Army in 2008.
Private First Class Glenn Shely Schoenmann reportedly died as a Prisoner of War (POW) on December 29, 1950. The Grundy County native was involved in the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in North Korea on November 28, 1950 when he went missing. The United States Army Soldier was 20-years old when he was killed. Navy veteran Raymond Schoenmann accepted the state’s memorial presentation on behalf of his older brother.
From Chas Sisk:
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey may have a lot of clout around the state Capitol. But by one measure, House Speaker Beth Harwell appears to have greater pull.
For the second consecutive year, the representative from Nashville’s upscale Green Hills neighborhood managed to upset Ramsey, a farm boy from rural Sullivan County, in a milk-off Tuesday between the leaders of the state Senate and House of Representatives.
The event highlighted Agriculture Day, an annual event in which the Department of Agriculture, Tennessee State Fair and other farm-oriented groups set up shop in the corridors of Legislative Plaza.
Harwell went into the contest the underdog, despite having beaten Ramsey in a goat-milking contest a year ago. That event was marred by allegations that Harwell had been helped by a House member who surreptitiously poured a little extra milk in her pail. Smartphone video confirmed those suspicions.
Full story HERE.
A time-honored ritual for the lords and ladies of Legislatorland is welcoming various groups of common citizens to the state castle, um, Capitol for a Day On The Hill, wherein they are granted audiences with the elected nobility to present grievances, pay homage and raise awareness.
It can be quite a spectacle as the Day On The Hill (DOTH) folks mix with other, less-organized common citizens wearing frowns or smiles — and bumper sticker slogans affixed to their chests — supporting or opposing some proposed law of the land, generally bored schoolchildren getting a dose of civics education and the everyday inhabitants of Legislatorland, lobbyists trying to influence the elected nobility and staffers trying to serve them.
It can also be quite an annoyance if you’re trying to walk across the hall from one room to another as members of the peaceful multitude clog the plaza in numbers that would have fire marshals clearing the area, writing tickets and issuing citations anywhere else.
One lobbyist says he discourages DOTHs because of the risk that individuals in the DOTH crowd will say something off message to a legislator — “You idiot!” for example — and the increasing annoyance factor.
News release from Senate Democratic Caucus:
NASHVILLE – With looming sequester cuts threatening everything from Head Start programs to our military personnel, leaders in Tennessee urged Gov. Bill Haslam to use the proposed increase to the state’s rainy day fund to weather the storm.
Tennessee has $356 million in its rainy day fund, with another $100 million to be added in this year’s budget. Using that $100 million to fund vital services instead would save Tennesseans from the pain of Washington’s inaction.
“The fact that Washington is acting irresponsibly does not mean we should allow Tennesseans to suffer,” Senate Democratic Leader Jim Kyle said. “If this isn’t a rainy day I don’t know what is. We’re calling on the governor to reduce the impact of these cuts for the neediest of our citizens.”
Both of Tennessee’s U.S. senators, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, voted yes on the tax deal that was approved by the Senate in the early on New Year;s day.
Here’s Alexander’s statement on the vote from his media office: “This agreement rescues 99 percent of Americans from individual and estate tax increases in 2013, and then makes these lower rates permanent, providing certainty and creating jobs. But the Medicare fiscal cliff is still ahead of us, which is why Senator Corker and I have a proposal to deal with the out-of-control spending that will soon bankrupt the programs seniors rely on to pay their medical bills. If we don’t deal with this during the debt ceiling debate, we are on the road to becoming Greece.”
Here’s Corker’s statement on the vote from his media office:
WASHINGTON – After voting in favor of legislation to rescue 99 percent of the American people from a tax rate increase, U.S. Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said “it’s time to move on to the spending reductions that will be part of the debt ceiling package.” “I am disappointed we could not address our country’s fiscal issues all at once, but unfortunately, the president made it clear that he was only willing to do this in two steps and leveraged the country and the economy to force revenues to be dealt with first. Now that we’ve addressed the revenue part of the equation, it’s time to move on to the spending reductions that will be part of the debt ceiling package. Passing fundamental entitlement reform is the most important action we can take in ensuring our country’s solvency and now we must have the courage to finish the job and make the tough choices necessary to get these problems behind us once and for all,” said Corker.
Earlier this month, Corker offered legislation to raise the debt ceiling by roughly $1 trillion in exchange for roughly $1 trillion in reforms to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Here’s the AP’s summary of what the bill does:
Highlights of a tentative agreement Monday between the White House and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., aimed at averting wide tax increases and budget cuts scheduled to take effect in the new year. The measure would raise taxes by about $600 billion over 10 years compared with tax policies that expire at midnight Monday. It would also delay for two months across-the-board spending cuts otherwise set to begin slashing the budgets of the Pentagon and numerous domestic agencies. Highlights include:
–Income tax rates: Extends decade-old tax cuts on incomes up to $400,000 for individuals, $450,000 for couples. Earnings above those amounts would be taxed at a rate of 39.6 percent, up from the current 35 percent. Extends Clinton-era caps on itemized deductions and the phase-out of the personal exemption for individuals making more than $250,000 and couples earning more than $300,000.
–Estate tax: Estates would be taxed at a top rate of 40 percent, with the first $5 million in value exempted for individual estates and $10 million for family estates. In 2012, such estates were subject to a top rate of 35 percent.
–Capital gains, dividends: Taxes on capital gains and dividend income exceeding $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for families would increase from 15 percent to 20 percent.
–Alternative minimum tax: Permanently addresses the alternative minimum tax and indexes it for inflation to prevent nearly 30 million middle- and upper-middle income taxpayers from being hit with higher tax bills averaging almost $3,000. The tax was originally designed to ensure that the wealthy did not avoid owing taxes by using loopholes.
–Other tax changes: Extends for five years Obama-sought expansions of the child tax credit, earned income tax credit, and an up to $2,500 tax credit for college tuition. Also extends for one year accelerated “bonus” depreciation of business investments in new property and equipment, a tax credit for research and development costs and a tax credit for renewable energy such as wind-generated electricity.
–Unemployment benefits: Extends jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed for one year.
–Cuts in Medicare reimbursements to doctors: Blocks a 27 percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors for one year. The cut is the product of an obsolete 1997 budget formula.
–Social Security payroll tax cut: Allows a 2 percentage point cut in the payroll tax first enacted two years ago to lapse, which restores the payroll tax to 6.2 percent.
–Across-the-board cuts: Delays for two months $109 billion worth of across-the-board spending cuts set to start striking the Pentagon and domestic agencies this week. Cost of $24 billion is divided between spending cuts and new revenues from rules changes on converting traditional individual retirement accounts into Roth IRAs.
News release from governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and state Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder today announced December 7, 2012 as Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
On December 7, 1941 more than 3,500 Americans serving in the United States military stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, were killed or wounded in an unprovoked attack by the Air and Naval forces serving Japan.
Images of burning battleships and the grief of lives dominated the entire country and American allies. During an address to the American people, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed December 7, 1941 is a “date which will live in infamy”.
The United States Congress, by Public Law 103 308, as amended, has designated December 7 of each year as “National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day” to recognize and honor brave heroes who died and demonstrate deep gratitude and admiration for their sacrifice.
“It has been 71 years since the attacks on Pearl Harbor, a day that changed our country,” Haslam said. “Twenty Tennessee service members were killed on the USS Arizona during the attack, along with thousands of other American heroes, and today we remember their sacrifice.”
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Voters who cast ballots Tuesday or during Tennessee’s 14-day early voting period talk about their selections and the general election.
The top race on the ticket, the contest for president between President Barack Obama, the Democrat, and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, helped send Tennessee voters to the polls even though the race wasn’t close in this state.
— Collierville financial adviser Kevin Baltier cast his ballot Tuesday for Romney, saying Obama’s strategy to levy more taxes on high-income people would stifle job creation. Baltier said Romney’s economic plan would create an environment where people “would not be looked down upon for their success.”
— University of Tennessee English professor Nancy Henry, 47, said in Knoxville that the issues that drove her vote for Obama weren’t economic. “Environmental policy is very important to me. Education is really important to me,” Henry said. “Yes, the economy, but frankly, I live in a pretty prosperous town in a pretty prosperous part of town, so I don’t feel like I have been worse off than I was four years ago.”
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Poll watchers in Memphis and Nashville reported many voting problems on Tuesday, but few had to do with Tennessee’s new voter photo ID law.
Instead, volunteers and city officials said people were turned away because of address problems while others gave up in the face of long lines and overwhelmed poll workers.
In Nashville, a coalition organized by government watchdog group Tennessee Citizen Action had about 125 volunteer poll watchers working Tuesday.
Asked what problems they were seeing, Director Mary Mancini said, “What aren’t they seeing?”
She ticked off the issues.
“There’s one polling place with 5 voting machines and only one machine operator. They’re running out of change-of-address forms and people are being sent away. They’re running out of provisional ballots. … People are not being offered provisional ballots; they’re just being turned away,” Mancini said.
The two candidates seeking the 74 District state House seat have plenty of contrasts that set them apart, says the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle. Incumbent John Tidwell, a Democrat, was first elected in 1996 and has served on various committees and subcommittees through the years, and also served on the Humphreys County Commission, as well as local and regional boards.
Lauri Day, who lives in the Humphreys County town of McEwen, is a small business owner with her husband and has been an outspoken advocate for education in Nashville, which is the extent of her public service and political experience.
Because of redistricting, Dist. 74 now includes Humphreys, Houston and the western part of Montgomery County.
Tidwell said he lost two-thirds of his former district when the boundaries were redrawn. “I’ve not been opposed in the last 10 years,” he said. “I serve the people, and they know that.”
Day, who beat Clarksville City Councilman Nick Steward in the Republican primary, has been in the news lately because of unpaid federal income taxes and a $46,000 IRS lien against her home.
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.