Gov. Bill Haslam said Tuesday his decision against state operation of a healthcare exchange will not make much difference in the extent of state control over the handling mandated medical insurance in Tennessee.
Asked in a Fox News interview whether he had problems “ceding a lot of control” to the federal government, Haslam replied, “I have a lot of problems with that.
“But the decision on the exchange really wasn’t going to make a big difference there one way or the other,” he said. “Our fear, once we got into it, was that the basic exchange didn’t give us a lot more flexibility or latitude than running it with them would or letting them run it would.”
Under the federal Affordable Care Act, states have option of running a healthcare exchange themselves, operating one in partnership with the federal government or leaving all operations to the federal government. Haslam announced Monday that he has decided to leave operation of the insurance clearinghouse to the federal government.
News release from the governor;s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced a $20,000 reward for information leading to the apprehension, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the death of Decatur County Fire Chief Kenny Fox.
“I encourage anyone who knows anything about this case to contact local authorities immediately, and I hope this reward leads to justice for Chief Fox’s family,” Haslam said.
On April 7, Fox was killed and two firefighters, Jeremy and Randy Inman, were injured while battling a blaze at the Oak Hill Bar in Parsons. Investigators later determined that the fire was an act of arson, which makes Fox’s death a Class A felony of first degree murder.
Hansel McCadams, District Attorney General for the 24th Judicial District, and the Tennessee Bomb and Arson Investigation Unit request that anyone with information about the fire call the arson hotline at 1-800-762-3017.
Lifted from a Chas Sisk political notebook: State lawmakers took time at the start of a House Education Committee meeting Tuesday to read to a group of kindergarten and second grade students from Nashville’s Shayne Elementary School, demonstrating that it’s not just politics that can leave them tongue-tied.
Wearing oversized red-and-white hats, lawmakers took turns reading Dr. Seuss’ Fox in Socks. They quickly learned that, to the unpracticed, seemingly simple rhymes can be a nightmare to read aloud.
Rep. Joey Hensley, R-Hohenwald, was the first to stumble. He butchered, “Clocks on fox tick/Clocks on Knox tock/Six sick bricks tick/Six sick clocks tock.”
“I got the hardest page here,” he complained.
Lawmakers eventually got smart and started passing the book to their reading companions. Taking it one word at a time, the kids from Shayne Elementary adroitly handled rhymes such as, “Ben bends Bim’s broom/Bim bends Ben’s broom/Bim’s bends/Ben’s bends/Ben’s bent broom breaks/Bim’s bent broom breaks.”
“Easy for you to say, isn’t it?” quipped Rep. Dennis Powers, R-Jacksboro.
News release from McNeely Pigott & Fox:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tom Hayden, former director of communications for Nashville Mayor Karl Dean’s 2011 re-election campaign and for former U.S. Rep. Lincoln Davis, has joined McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations as a senior account executive.
Hayden most recently served as the deputy campaign manager and director of communications for Mayor Dean’s successful re-election campaign.
Hayden worked on Rep. Davis’ staff in Washington, D.C., and Tennessee for eight years as director of communications. While with Rep. Davis, he managed communications outreach, strategic planning, media relations and crisis communications, and assisted with event planning. In conjunction with his management of communications, Hayden served two years as a legislative assistant and staff liaison to the House Science Committee.
Prior to working for Rep. Davis, Hayden managed communications for the Tennessee Democratic Party and worked as a tourism marketing associate at the D.C. Chamber of Commerce.
“Tom’s knowledge of the political process, his relationships and his communication skills will be valuable assets to our firm and clients,” said MP&F Senior Partner Mark McNeely.
Hayden, a native of Parkman, Ohio, and a 1999 graduate of Hiram College, holds a B.A. degree in history and communication.
McNeely Pigott & Fox is an award-winning, full-service public relations firm based in Nashville, Tenn. It provides total communications and marketing services for a diversified client mix at the local, regional and national levels. MP&F was founded in 1987 and has grown to become one of the largest independent public relations firms in the Southeast.
A state economist says one factor setting back Tennessee’s recovery is inflation, reports WPLN. University of Tennessee economist Bill Fox says there are fewer state dollars overall. And the $10 billion the state does bring in aren’t going as far as they used to.
Fox thinks a couple years from now Tennessee will finally have more tax dollars than in 2008, before the recession hit. But that amount will be worth less by then.
“If you realize the effect of inflation on those dollars, we’re still 10 percent lower.”
In other words, even after the state budget has dug out of the crater left by the recession, it’ll have a lot of catching up to do.
“What we’re looking at is 1.5 to 2 percent inflation over this next year. So as we think about tax revenue growth of 3.5 to 4 percent, in line with what I’m talking about, then 1.5 to 2 percent is just normal inflation. And only 1.5 percent or so is actual growth in real tax revenues.”
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A University of Tennessee analyst says it could take up to five years before the state completely recovers all the jobs lost since the beginning of the recession.
Bill Fox, director of UT’s Center for Business and Economic Research, told the State Funding Board in Nashville on Wednesday that the state has gained back about 60,000 jobs, or about a quarter of the 220,000 lost since 2007.
Fox told the panel that the number of jobs created in Tennessee is a better measure of the state’s economic health than the unemployment rate, which he said reflects a larger number of people seeking work amid improving job prospects.
The State Funding Board is scheduled to deliver its revenue estimates for the upcoming budget year on Monday.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An alliance has been formed by Tennessee public relations companies to offer statewide services to clients.
The Tennessee Public Relations Alliance is being coordinated by Nashville-based McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations. Charter members also are the Carter Malone Group of Memphis and Moxley Carmichael Public Relations of Knoxville.
All three will continue to maintain existing clients and pursue others. But the alliance will be available for businesses and organizations that need statewide communications services.
The PR Alliance’s first news release, announcing its existence, is reproduced below.
In a couple ofTNReport articles from the Southern Legislative Conference, Mike Morrow reports on the controversy over Amazon.com collecting state sales taxes, which is a big issue for legislators in many states. One article is on an SLC meeting that featured reports on the impact of e-commerce. An excerpt: Dr. William F. Fox, director of economics at the University of Tennessee’s Center for Business and Economic Research, joined North Carolina’s secretary of Revenue, David W. Hoyle, in a presentation, and the message they brought was that Amazon has managed to create an uneven playing field and that Internet sales in general are having a huge impact on state revenues.
…”The Amazon part is only about 5 percent of e-commerce,” (Fox) said.
But Fox said his center’s research estimates the total of e-commerce is about $4 trillion, with about $46 billion in taxes due across the nation. He said most states surveyed are going to lose about $200 million or more this year due to uncollected taxes on e-commerce.
But the issue goes far beyond uncollected sales taxes, according to Fox. There was consistent growth in retail employment until about 2000, a rate of about 2 percent per year.
“Since 2002, retail employment in the U.S. has absolutely flattened out,” Fox said.
To put a sharper focus on it, Fox told lawmakers Walmart hires five workers for every million dollars in sales. Amazon hires one.
“As we move from people who buy on Main Street, and they move to buy from Amazon because of the tax subsidy that is implicit in the way we pay, we cost the economy four jobs,” he said.
The other article is devoted mostly to commentary from House Finance Committee Chairman Charles Sargent, R-Franklin, sponsor of legislation that would mandate Amazon collect sales taxes once it opens distribution facilities in Tennessee…. Even if Gov. Bill Haslam negotiates a deal to exempt Amazon.
Sargent’, the article says, has “used some of the strongest language of any legislator to express his opinion on Amazon.” For example: “We can find no legal basis for this alleged agreement. None,” Sargent said in a subcommittee meeting in May. “Nobody is above the law, and nobody can cut deals to circumvent the law.”
But his current rhetoric sounds considerably more ambivalent. For example: “I am definitely looking at proceeding on it,”
By Lucas Johnson
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The recent announcement of hundreds of new jobs coming to Tennessee is further indication the state’s economy is growing stronger, says a top economist.
Gov. Bill Haslam said last Thursday that IQT Inc., a leading provider of customer relationship management services, is establishing its headquarters in downtown Nashville and plans to hire more than 900 people over the next five years.
The Republican governor followed that up the next day with an announcement that automotive parts supplier SL Tennessee is expanding in East Tennessee and creating 100 jobs.
Bill Fox, director of the University of Tennessee’s economic research center, said the state’s job growth has been pretty solid and that the addition of new jobs “further signals that we can expect pretty good job growth the next year or so.”
Despite the increase in jobs, Fox noted the state’s unemployment rate remains about the same. The most recent unemployment figure is 9.6 percent.