Tag Archives: wealth

Forbes reports Haslam’s net worth down $500M

Gov. Bill Haslam’s net worth is shown as declining by about $500 million in Forbes latest report on the world’s wealthiest people, but he is still deemed America’s richest holder of an elected office.

The Forbes 2016 review pegs the governor’s net worth as $1.6 billion, down from $2.1 billion in 2015. That puts him at 1,159 on the world’s richest list and 387 on the United States list, down from 1,006 worldwide and 327 nationally last year.

While the magazine says Haslam is still the nation’s wealthiest officeholder, he could lose that status if Donald Trump, currently frontrunner for the Republican nomination, is elected president. Trump is listed as having a net worth of $4.5 billion, No. 324 worldwide and 113th in the United States.

Trump has in the past disputed Forbes’ reporting, contending his net worth is higher. Haslam has consistently refused to discuss his financial status, based on part ownership of the Pilot Flying J chain of gas stations and truck stops.

The governor’s brother, James “Jimmy” Haslam III, CEO of Pilot Flying J, has a net worth of $2.3 billion in the 2016 rankings.

Ten Tennesseans made the current Forbes list, including the Haslam brothers.

Top Tennessean for wealth is Nashville’s Thomas Frist Jr., son of the founder of Hospital Corporation of America and largest shareholder in HCA Holdings Inc., with a net worth of $7.3 billion, according to Forbes.
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Forbes: Bill Haslam net worth $2.1B, still America’s wealthiest officeholder

Gov. Bill Haslam retains his Forbes status as America’s richest elected official in the magazine’s new 2015 listings..

But despite having his estimated net worth increase to $2.1 billion (from an even $2 billion previously), the governor is still just seventh on the Forbes list of richest Tennesseans and 327th nationwide. His brother, Pilot Flying J CEO James “Jimmy” Haslam III, is still ahead with an estimated net worth of $2.8 billion (No. 234 nationally.)

Tennessee’s richest person is still Thomas Frist Jr., son of Hospital Corporation of America’s founder and brother of former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. His worth is pegged at $8.7 billion, No. 54 nationally.

From Forbes commentary on Haslam:

The richest elected official in America is Bill Haslam, who inherited a 15% stake in truck stop empire Pilot Flying J from his father. The Haslam family fortune grew to an estimated $6 billion this year from $4.3 billion a year ago, helped by plummeting gas prices. Cheaper crude meant Pilot and other gas stations could increase their margins at the pump, boosting the value of the Haslam family’s fortune.

Forbes’ rundown on Tennesseans making the list is HERE. You can click on each person’s name and get some details.

Besides Frist and Jimmy Haslam, those ahead of the governor are Martha Ingram of Nashville ($4.3 billion, no. 129), Federal Express CEO Fredrick Smith of Memphis ($3.5 billion, 171st); Brad Kelley of Franklin and Jeffrey Lorberbaum of Chattanooga (tied at $2.2 billion, 307th).

Gov. Haslam is tied at 327th and $2.1 billion with Forrest Preston of Cleveland.

Note: Previous post (the gov rated 1,006th richest person worldwide) HERE.

Corker falls from 17th to 20th in listing of richest members of Congress

In its annual list of the nation’s richest members of Congress, Roll Call reports that Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker gained net worth but fell in the overall ranking.

The Chattanooga TFP has a rundown on the list from a Tennessee perspective HERE. An excerpt:

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker may not agree with Obamanomics, but under President Obama last year the Chattanooga Republican enjoyed a $1.3 million gain in his minimum net worth…to between $19 million and $89.7 million. (Roll Call uses the minimum figure in its rankings.)

Corker ranked No. 23 last year. Despite the gain in his minimum net worth, Corker still placed lower in 2013 than he did in the previous year when Roll Call ranked him as the 17th-richest member of Congress.

The Chattanooga millionaire is not the richest member in Congress from Tennessee, however. U.S. Rep. Diane Black, a Nashville Republican, reported a net worth last year of at least $21.2 million, placing her among the 20 wealthiest members of the U.S. House or U.S. Senate.

Black showed her minimum worth dropped by $3.7 million in 2013, reducing her wealth rating by Roll Call from No. 14 in 2012 to No. 20 last year.

…U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, a Nashville Democrat,…who owns millions of dollars worth of land in Tennessee and Kentucky along with beachfront property in Gulfport, Miss., reported a $3 million rise in his minimum worth last year and ranked 36th on the list of wealthiest members in Congress. Cooper is a former investment banker who owns stock in Microsoft, IBM, Comcast and Qualcomm.

Study says rising income inequality a problem for states (like TN) reliant on sales tax revenue

By Erik Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennesseans are just weeks away from voting on a constitutional amendment to bar lawmakers from ever imposing a state income tax. The November vote approaches as a new study from ratings agency Standard & Poor’s suggests that rising income inequality has a stronger negative effect on the states most reliant on sales tax revenues compared with those with those more dependent on income taxes.

The S&P report that the affluent tend to save a greater share of their income and spend it on untaxed services, meaning that states are unlikely to see much of an increase in sales tax collections based on the gains among this group.

Regardless of the outcome of constitutional amendment, it’s unlikely that Tennessee lawmakers would seriously consider a state income tax —which has become a toxic political issue since the last serious attempt to impose one failed in 2002 amid raucous Capitol protests that included a brick being thrown through the window of the governor’s office and demonstrators banging on the doors of the Senate chamber while lawmakers sought to conduct their business within.

The Legislature instead passed a 1 percentage point increase to the state’s sales tax rate to generate $933 million in new revenue, which was the last time the state passed a general tax increase.

The public backlash against the income tax proposal championed by then-Gov. Don Sundquist, a Republican, joined by Democratic leadership in the Legislature, led several supporters to retire from office or to their defeat in re-election campaigns.

Republicans, who now hold supermajorities in both chambers of the Legislature, have since voted to phase out the state’s inheritance and gift taxes, and are also taking aim at reducing or eliminating the Hall tax on interest from bonds and notes and dividends from stocks.

The Standard & Poor’s analysis shows that Tennessee’s tax revenue grew an average of 9 percent between 1950 and 1979. It then dropped to 8.2 percent in the 1980s, 5.9 percent in the 1990s and down to 3.8 percent in the 2000s. Since 2009, the average annual growth rate has rebounded slightly to 4.3 percent.

Meanwhile, the study suggests that the gains flowing to the top 1 percent come at a broader cost to society. Not only does rising inequality appear to stunt overall economic growth, but S&P links it to a slowdown in average yearly gains in state tax revenues.

Most economic activity comes from consumer spending, a key driver of growth. But consumers have become increasingly reluctant to spend as median incomes have barely increased over three decades and remain lower than they were in 2007 when the Great Recession began. Median household incomes, adjusted for inflation, were $54,045 in July, about 4.6 percent lower than they were in July 2007.

By contrast, the top 1 percent of earners has prospered for more than 30 years. Adjusted for inflation, their average incomes have nearly tripled to $1.26 million since 1979, according to the IRS. But S&P notes that wealthier individuals tend to spend less of their money, meaning that states are unlikely to see much of an increase in sales tax collections.
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TN Congressmen Richer Than Their Challengers (believe it or not)

The Tennessean has a story comparing the wealth of some incumbent Tennessee congressmen and their challengers, based on recent financial disclosures. Not surprisingly, the incumbents are mostly richer.
For example, Lou Ann Zelenik, the tea party activist who will take on Republican Rep. Diane Black for the second time in August’s primary, reported 2011 assets of at least $850,000, mostly in real estate. Black reported assets totaling at least $16.5 million in 2010.
The disclosure statements report assets and liabilities only in broad ranges. This year, for the first time, congressional incumbents were required to report any residential mortgages owed by them or their spouses.
More recent figures for Black — and 2011 disclosure statements for Republican Sen. Bob Corker and Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper — weren’t available because they were given extensions to file later.
Zelenik lent her campaign more than $400,000 in 2010, which has since been repaid. Black topped that, putting more than $1 million of her own money into the 2010 campaign.
Republican Rep. Stephen Fincher reported “Stephen and Lynn Fincher Farms” as his only asset, worth between $500,000 and $1 million. He said he earned $33,943 from farming last year. Fincher’s debts — consisting of loans for farm equipment and a home mortgage of at least $15,000 — amount to at least $810,000.
Independent candidate James Hart, the only one of Fincher’s challengers who has filed a financial disclosure statement, reported $1,000 to $15,000 in assets and no debt.
Because the statements report values in wide ranges, it’s sometimes impossible to tell which of two candidates is wealthier.
For example, Republican Rep. Scott DesJarlais reported assets of between $421,000 and $1.04 million. His challenger, Democratic state Sen. Eric Stewart, reported assets worth between $269,000 and $610,000, meaning either could be wealthier.
Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn reported assets of at least $189,000 and debts of at least $300,000, including two mortgages on a Brentwood residence. Disclosures for Blackburn’s challengers are not yet available.
…Most of Corker’s opponents — including Democrat and environmentalist Park Overall — have not filed personal financial disclosure forms. The only challenger who has, Republican Zachary Poskevich, reported assets of at least $139,000 and no debt.
Corker’s filing from last year showed assets of at least $26.6 million and debts of at least $5.5 million.
Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander, who typically ranks with Corker and Black as one of the wealthiest members of Congress, reported having at least $9.8 million last year and at least $4.5 million in liabilities. Refinanced mortgages accounted for at least $4.2 million of that debt.
…In Tennessee’s hotly contested 3rd Congressional District — where first-term Republican Rep. Chuck Fleischmann is locked in an expensive primary battle with dairy executive Scottie Mayfield and Weston Wamp, son of former Rep. Zach Wamp — the candidate who puts in the most personal money could gain a financial edge.
Self-financing could be easier for Fleischmann, who reported at least $1.7 million in assets, and Mayfield than for Wamp, who reported between $16,000 and $65,000 in assets.

Cooper Among Congressmen With Misreported Wealth

U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper is not among the top 1 percent of wealthiest Americans, as had been reported in an analysis by USA TODAY that was published in The Tennessean on Wednesday, the Tennessean reported a day later.
The information about Cooper was based on faulty data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics, which estimated members’ worth within a range reported on financial disclosure forms by members of Congress. The correct midpoint of that range for Cooper, D-Nashville, was $7.5 million, which places him outside the top 1 percent.
Note: There were other foul-ups in the CRP report. A corrected version of the national news release his HERE.