Tag Archives: nation

Fitch Ratings: TN Has Lowest State Debt in the Nation

News release from Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey:
(July 22, 2013, NASHVILLE) – Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) and Senate Finance Chairman Senator Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) today announced that Fitch Ratings officially declared Tennessee the lowest indebted state in the union. Fitch Ratings issued the finding in a special report on state pensions last week. The ranking is based on Tennessee’s net tax-supported debt and unfunded pension obligations as a percentage of personal income.
“This news proves once again that Tennessee can outperform any state in the union — even in the Obama economy,” said Lt. Governor Ramsey. ¬†“While the federal government and other states are taxing, spending and leaving their grandchildren the bill, Tennessee continues to balance budgets and pay what we owe. I’m proud of our legislature, our Governor and our constitutional officers for their commitment to a lean and efficient state government that provides necessary services at minimal cost to taxpayers. It is that commitment that continues to attract businesses and families to our great state.”
Senate Finance Chairman Randy McNally concurred in celebrating the news.
“I’m grateful to Fitch Ratings for recognizing Tennessee’s commitment to fiscal discipline,” said Sen. McNally. “We work hard as a state government to live within our means and pay our debts promptly. I look forward every day to participating in Tennessee’s economic success story.”
Fitch Ratings State Pension Update special report published July 16, 2013 revealed that the median level for states’ combined net tax-supported debt plus unfunded pension liabilities measures 7.0 percent of 2012 personal income. Tennessee’s was lowest at 1.8 percent. The nation’s highest percentage was Illinois at 24.8 percent.
Fitch Ratings is a leading global rating agency which provides the world’s credit markets with independent credit opinions. ¬†Fitch, together with Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s, are the three nationally recognized statistical rating organizations designated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

TN Leads Nation in Rejecting Gun Purchases

Tennessee has the highest rate of gun purchase denials in the nation, according to a February report by the U.S. Department of Justice that is the focus of a Tennessean story.
In 2010, Tennessee rejected about 4.3 percent of gun buyers’ purchases based on state criminal background checks, according to the report — more than twice the national average of about 1.5 percent.
A majority of those who appeal their cases win, allowing them to eventually get a gun. Just like Armentrout did.
It’s a system that annoys both buyers and sellers and could become an even bigger headache if new federal efforts to require background checks for all gun sales are successful.
“I can’t even imagine how they’re even going to keep up with the processing,” Armentrout said. “They can barely keep up now.”
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, which conducts a $10 background check on all gun purchases from gun stores, acknowledges it has a high denial rate.
Kristin Helm, spokeswoman for the agency, said that its criminal background system, called the TBI Instant Check System, or TICS, is great for recording arrests but doesn’t always get updated as to the outcome of those cases.
“Missing dispositions has been an issue with criminal records; however, it has vastly improved over the last 10 years,” Helm said. “When an appeal is filed on a denied transaction, TICS staff diligently tracks down each record from clerks’ offices across the state to locate any missing information, which also updates the criminal history system.”

TN Among Top States in Gun Buy Background Checks Last Month (91,922)

WASHINGTON (AP) — People who lived in the two states that saw the most deadly U.S. mass shootings in 2012 were less enthusiastic about buying new guns at the end of the year than those in most other states, according to an Associated Press analysis of new FBI data.
The latest government figures also reflect huge increases across the U.S. in the number of background checks for gun sales and permits to carry guns at the end of the year. After President Barack Obama’s re-election in November, the school shooting in Connecticut last month and Obama’s promise to support new laws aimed at curbing gun violence, the number of background checks spiked, especially in the South and West. In Georgia, the FBI processed 37,586 requests during October and 78,998 requests in December; Alabama went from 32,850 to 80,576 during the same period.
Nationally, there were nearly twice as many more background checks for firearms between November and December than during the same time period one year ago.
Background checks typically spike during the holiday shopping season, and some of the increases in the most recent FBI numbers can be attributed to that. But the number of background checks also tends to increase after mass shootings, when gun enthusiasts fear restrictive measures are imminent.

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Sunday Column: Musing on Mother Jones’

Mother Jones magazine, a decidedly liberal publication, last week provided the capstone to a year filled with national media lampooning of the Tennessee General Assembly by declaring it the worst in all 50 states.
The article is not too serious and certainly not scholarly. It begins with a declaration that Tennessee got “bonus points” for inspiring “a news story with the phrase ‘gateway body parts’ and ‘governor signs’ in the same paragraph.”
In fact, the article is inaccurate and misleading in some respects.
It says, for an inaccuracy example, that a bill to “provide cover for teachers who question evolution and climate change in their classrooms” was vetoed. Actually, the measure critics called “the monkey bill” was not vetoed. The governor refused to sign it, but it became law without his signature.
And for a misleading example, the article credits state Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, with sponsorship of a bill that would have prohibited persons who have gone through a sex change operation from using rest rooms for persons of their newly-chosen gender. Actually, credit belongs to state Rep. Richard Floyd, R-Chattanooga. Watson killed the transgender bathroom bill by withdrawing it — after initially signing on as Senate sponsor, at Floyd’s request, without reading it.
But, hey, we can’t expect nationally-oriented folks to keep up with such details in reviewing 50 different states.
On a broad brush basis, the evaluation doubtless reflects what folks in other states hear about legislative doings outside their home turf — and most of what they hear about is the social issue shenanigans that are unusual enough to attract special attention.
So, we’re No. 1. And some can be proud that a liberal publication has rated us the worst, which to them equates to the best. And some can be chagrined or embarrassed. Most, if they care at all, will just have something to mention in a water cooler conversation.

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