Tag Archives: transfer

Corker: Don’t Sell TVA… But Maybe Give It Away

Tennessee Valley Authority might be better off severed from Uncle Sam, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker tells the Chattanooga Times-Free Press.
Corker said he isn’t pushing to sell TVA to try to cut the federal debt, as President Obama proposed last month in his fiscal 2014 budget plan. With nearly $25 billion in debt, TVA probably wouldn’t fetch enough from buyers to pay what it owes, Corker said.
But new approaches for TVA, including converting the agency to a nonprofit corporation or transferring ownership to TVA distributors and customers, might help improve the utility, Corker said.
“I’ve not been comfortable with the federal government involvement with TVA and thinking that that is going to lead TVA to a great place,” Corker told the Times Free Press in a telephone interview Wednesday. “I worry that over time the fact that TVA is controlled by the federal government but in a laissez-fair manner could leave it less and less as an identity to drive economic growth in our state.”
Corker is splitting with most other Tennesseans in the Congress who have balked at a proposal in the Obama budget plan to conduct a strategic study on cutting TVA loose from the federal treasury.
“Reducing or eliminating the federal government’s role in programs such as TVA, which have achieved their original objectives and no longer require federal participation, can help put the nation on a sustainable fiscal path,” the White House says in its budget plan.
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the ranking Republican on the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, said that spinning off the nation’s largest public utility could mean higher electricity prices for the seven states that the authority serves. Just the talk about selling TVA has hurt its bond values and raised TVA’s effective borrowing costs, Alexander said.
Even U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, an Alabama Republican who denounced Obama a “socialist” in January, said the president’s suggestion to privatize TVA is “unsupportable and inexplicable.”
The Tennessee Valley Authority no longer receives any federal funds and is an independent federal corporation that relies entirely upon electric ratepayers to fund its $11 billion-a-year budget. TVA does enjoy the implied backing of the federal government through its federal ownership, which helps the agency maintain a top bond rating and borrow money at a lower rate than do private utilities

Some Legislators Overspend or Help Friends With ‘Constituent Communication’ Money

Some state legislators facing re-election challengers have been overspending their taxpayer-funded accounts for communicating with constituents, covering the shortfall either with political money or transfers from colleagues who are either retiring or face no re-election opposition.
Some examples from a review of the 2012 “postage and printing” accounts:
-State Rep. Harry Tindell, D-Knoxville, who is not seeking re-election transferred $4,720 from his account to state Rep. John Mark Windle, D-Livingston, who faces a general election opponent. Another retiring Democrat, Rep. Bill Harmon of Dunlap, chipped in $1,500 to Windle from his account.
-Five Republican lawmakers with no opposition gave $1,000 each to state Rep. Richard Montgomery, R-Sevierville, who faces a challenge in the Aug. 2 primary. Without the transfers, Montgomery would have lacked enough money in his account to cover a May mail piece carrying the headline, “Rep. Richard Montgomery: Making Job Creation Priority #1.”
-At least a dozen lawmakers had to write checks to the state to either cover a deficit in their taxpayer-funded accounts or avoid one. Only one legislator wrote a personal check — Rep. Dale Ford, R-Jonesborough, for $62.02 — while the others transferred political campaign funds. The biggest campaign fund check to the state as of Friday came from Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, R-Lancaster, for $2,833. Senate Minority Leader Jim Kyle, D-Memphis, had tentatively reported a shortfall of $8,653, though the paperwork was still being processed Friday.

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Bill Transfering Parole Board Duties to Corrections Approved

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A proposal to transfer certain services from the Board of Probation and Parole to the Department of Correction is headed to the governor for his consideration.
The measure was unanimously approved 30-0 in the Senate on Monday evening after lawmakers agreed to minor changes by the House.
Tennessee correction officials have said the proposal will save thousands of dollars and improve public safety.
The legislation would move certain functions relating to probation and parole services and the community corrections program, which assists victims and offers more options to local courts, to the Correction Department.
The transfer is expected to “result in increased stability, increased efficiency and continuity of supervision delivery and rehabilitative efforts,” according to the legislation.

Savings Seen in Probation and Parole Reshuffling

By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee correction officials say a proposal to transfer certain services from the Board of Probation and Parole to the Department of Correction will save thousands of dollars and improve public safety.
The legislation would move certain functions relating to probation and parole services and the community corrections program, which assists victims and offers more options to local courts, to the Correction Department.
The transfer is expected to “result in increased stability, increased efficiency and continuity of supervision delivery and rehabilitative efforts,” according to the proposal, which passed the Senate 32-0 earlier this month.
The companion bill is scheduled for the House Finance Committee on Tuesday.
Correction Commissioner Derrick Schofield said the move would save the state about $714,000 in the first year. While the savings is important, he said the state wants to provide the best supervision and services for offenders so they don’t come back into the system.

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Todd Bill Would Transfer School Buildings to New Districts

State Rep. Curry Todd, R-Collierville, filed a bill in Nashville on Tuesday that would transfer county school buildings to new municipal school districts for free, according to the Commercial Appeal.
The legislation, which has not yet started through the review process, calls for any indebtedness on the buildings transferred to the municipality to remain with the countywide system.
“That sounds like what we were asking for,” Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald said, acknowledging that he had heard about the bill but not read it.
The bill, House Bill 2954, was one of three regarding education filed by the Collierville House member Tuesday. One only stated that the state department of education would provide assistance to a transition planning commission.
The third bill, however, would open the door for combining individual municipal school districts. It states that if there is consolidation of another school system with the county school system “then two (2) or more cities in the county may create a joint city school system.”
The three proposed bills appear in keeping with the wishes of outlying governments seeking to start their own school systems and comes amid the ongoing debate between the merged Memphis and Shelby County school systems and efforts by the six outlying suburbs to start their own school systems.
The buildings are a key factor in the potential cost for a new municipal school system. Bartlett, for example, has put an estimated value of $65 million on the 11 buildings within that city’s boundaries — a cost that, if the suburb was required to pay for the buildings, would significantly increase the expenses necessary to start a municipal school district.

Comptroller: City of South Pittsburg Improperly Took $750K From Utilities

News release from state comptroller’s office:
The City of South Pittsburg improperly took almost $750,000 from its local utility department, an investigation by the Comptroller’s Division of Municipal Audit has revealed.
The improper fund transfer occurred after the city’s mayor misinterpreted a 21-year-old city ordinance.
The ordinance, adopted in 1990, was intended to provide assurances that the local utilities, Marion Natural Gas System and the Board of Water Works and Sewers, would pay for any roadwork expenses related to utility line installation, repair or maintenance. To make sure all costs were covered, the ordinance gave the utilities the option of placing a $20,000 annual deposit for all projects that might occur in a given year.
The utilities paid a $20,000 deposit in 1990. However, in a letter dated Dec. 31, 2009, South Pittsburg’s mayor asserted that the utilities should have been paying $20,000 deposits every year, even though they had paid for their roadwork expenses and the original $20,000 deposit remained intact.
In a letter sent today, Dennis Dycus, director of the Division of Municipal Audit, advised city officials to take corrective action to repay the money owed to the utility districts. As provided by state law, city officials who fail to reimburse the utility can be subject to ouster from office.
To view the letter online, click HERE.

Bill Bans ‘Wall Street Home Resale Fees’

News release from Tennessee Land Title Association:
NASHVILLE, Tennessee – Governor Haslam took swift action to protect Tennessee homeowners by signing SB 1845 and HB 1644 to restrict Wall Street Home Resale Fees (also known as “private transfer fees”).
SB 1845, sponsored by Senator Lowe Finney (D-Jackson) and HB 1644, sponsored by Representative Vance Dennis (R-Savannah), places a ban on these fees, a dangerous new financial scheme that steals home equity, lowers home resale values and adds another layer of difficulty to selling a home.
“These fees infringe on property rights and hurt Tennessee consumers. They have no place in the Tennessee real estate market,” said Senator Finney sponsor of SB 1845.
“We’ve made sure that when a homeowner buys a new property, he or she owns that home free and clear of any unreasonable and unnecessarily burdensome liens,” said Representative Dennis sponsor of HB 1644.
“The Governor and Legislature stood up for homeowners by protecting consumers from these predatory fees,” said Mark Rosser, Tennessee Land Title Association President. “This bill is an important step in enhancing consumer protections, safeguarding the real estate market and protecting our property rights system in Tennessee.”
Manhattan-based Freehold Capitol Partners is leading the push to add these fees to home purchase contracts. The fees require that a percentage of the final sale price of a home be paid to a private third party every time the property is sold, typically for 99 years. Freehold is attempting to then sell the right to collect these fees on Wall Street–all the while padding investors’ pockets while stealing equity from homeowners.
Tennessee becomes the 35th state to have restricted the use of Wall Street Resale Fees.
The bill is the latest in a series of government actions to limit Wall Street Home Resale Fees. Tennessee joins Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Washington in restricting the dangerous fees. On the federal level, the Federal Housing Finance Agency has issued a proposed rule that would prevent government-sponsored entities from investing in mortgages with these fees.

The Coalition to Stop Wall Street Home Resale Fees has organized to fight the dangerous financial scheme of transfer fee covenants and to protect homeowners across the country. Together, we are fighting to ensure that homeowners keep full equity in their home, and have the freedom to buy or sell their home without paying-off a private third party.