Knoxville Chamber says Niceley 'hostile to business'

KNOXVILLE -- The Knoxville Chamber said today that state Rep. Frank Niceley, a Republican from Strawberry Plains, is “hostile to business” for his sponsorship of bills that would hamper economic development and potentially cost the region jobs.

“Among the members of the Knox County state legislative delegation, Rep. Niceley stands out as working against business interests in the state and in this region,” Garrett Wagley, the Chamber’s director of communications and government relations. “If the bills he’s introduced become law they would be burdensome to businesses and limit economic development. They could also result in the loss of jobs and negatively affect the local and state tax base.”

This is the first time the Chamber has publicly labeled a sitting local state legislator as hostile, Wagley said.

Niceley could not immediately be reached for comment.

Wagley said chamber officials have met with Niceley to discuss their opposition to their bills but were unable to persuade him to withdraw his sponsorship.

"We not the only ones against these bills," Wagley said. "The Tennessee Chamber and other big four (city) chambers have joined us in opposing them."

The bills identified by the chamber are:

HB3058, which would require an entity using eminent doman to pay the current property owner the future value of the property.

HB3695, which would limit a county’s ability to develop land for industrial use if it has been as nonattainment for air quality by the Environmental Protection Agency.

HB3852, which would require meetings and minutes of a chamber to be subject to the open meetings law.

B3032 and HB3061, which would require LLCs doing business with a county or the state to disclose the name of each partner prior to finalizing a contract.

More details as the develop and in Tuesday's News Sentinel.

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Comments » 17

WhitePineVol77 writes:

I think his bills are OK. It keeps future mistakes from being made in E Tn...and there have been many up to this point.

BPaone (Inactive) writes:

I like the last two.

deerman writes:

The "Chamber" is in it for the betterment of their members and no one else. Those sound like good bills to me. You go Nicely

noyb456#226348 writes:

I didn't care much for Niceley before, but I have changed my opinion! Go Frank!

tn_conservative_guy writes:

HB3058 Eminent Domain... property owner's operating a business on that property should be compensated for future business they would have generated on that land. That is fair.

HB3695, State's have the right to over rule any EPA standard and should not make laws to enhance their rulings.

HB3852, a Chamber is a private organization and it is unconstitutional to require them to have open records/meetings (unless they are receiving a majority of funds from taxpayers, and then they should fall under sunshine laws)

B3032 and HB3061, I agree that there should be full disclosure when any company is receiving taxpayer dollars for a project

Indie101 writes:

Without knowing the details of these bills, all four sound more than reasonable to me. The Chamber's shrill response suggests that there must be another layer to this puzzle.

RockyTopVolFan writes:

Frank, Keep up the good work.

Looks like you stepped on some toes but they were not mine nor those of the posters above! It is just Big Shots complaining as usual through their hired help "working" at the chamber...for who??? Not me.

Darkempire writes:

The chamber is a farce. Smug and on the taxpayer dime is a lousy combination.

kmasden writes:

you hurt business you hurt jobs. lets make more laws and run up the cost of doing business. that will help the little guy

hallsguy writes:

Nicely's bills are more than reasonable.It is not all that unusual for developers to use LLC's to conceal their identity.I do agree though that when taxpayer funding is used or public works projects are involved that the identities of the LLC partners be revealed.Anything that benefits a private entity funded by taxpayer dollars should be sunshined and wide open.
That's how public officials have been getting rich for years-their votes for a share of the partnership.
This deal by the chamber is just spoiled brat-ism.If the Chamber operated in the daylight,we wouldn't need bills like this.

devilsadvocate writes:

in response to kmasden:

you hurt business you hurt jobs. lets make more laws and run up the cost of doing business. that will help the little guy

Overgeneralized, oversimplified, and overused platitudes sure are helpful...

laughingoutloud writes:

The truth behind this situation is that Rep. Niceley is trying to hurt all business and potential new business due to his lack of personal gain. Rep. Niceley owns several hundreds of acres in East Knox County that was found unsuitable by Norfolk Southern for their proposed intermodal facility. When this occurred, Rep. Niceley began his campaign to prevent any other location from being considered for the intermodal facility.

In return, this representative of the people of East Knox County is hurting these people of his legislative district. The bills are ridiculous and could seriously hurt recruitment of new companies to the area. Without new companies, people will remain unemployed or become unemployed.

Thank you, Rep. Niceley, for the lack of seeing past your own bank account. I'm sure the people of East Knox County will thank you too when they are unemployed and you have made it impossible to bring in new jobs.

Stranabrade writes:

I am a pro-business manager with an MBA in finance, and all of these laws seem not only reasonable but necessary. The laws might be "burdensome", but ethical and transparent behavior is more important.

btwill writes:

Like the other threads,you had to expect at least 6 of those high paying jobs to show up and condemn the common sense approach that Frank Nicely brings to the table and I'm sure the other 4 will show up after they finish their cocktails and lobster (at the taxpayers expense). I say take away any entity's public funding until they comply with the sunshine law and place their financial statements and salaries
online for all the taxpayers to inspect. Until that day comes quit giving them my money. bruce

bigrig4 writes:

The problem is the Chamber, not Rep. Nicely.

The Chamber is led by a group of egotistical self serving businessmen that do not have the Taxpayers and Residents interests in mind.

And Knox County continues to give this pitiful group $400,000.00 a year but cut or eliminate funding of charitable organizations.

It is time to see the Chamber for what it is and quit funding it, especially after going after a State Representative that was elected by the people.

BPaone (Inactive) writes:

in response to devilsadvocate:

Overgeneralized, oversimplified, and overused platitudes sure are helpful...

To be fair, it's not like specifics and logic go over any better around here.

knoxcatlady writes:

I have to agree. The response by the Chamber of Commerce seems to be shrill and almost hysterical. The bills sponsored by Representative Niceley and Senator Burchett seem quite reasonable to me and I think the city and county governments need to reevaluate giving the Chamber grants.

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