Tag Archives: Bill Haslam

Is Rogero eyeing Duncan’s seat?

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

State Sen. Doug Overbey, who is looking at a 2018 race for governor, says he “has strong reservations” on philosophical grounds over indexing the proposed gas tax increase without legislative action as recommended by Gov. Bill Haslam.

Indexing gas to the Consumer Price Index would place a gas tax increase on automatic pilot. This appears contrary to what most principled conservative lawmakers would favor in terms of voting each time a tax increases. It appears this provision will be dropped if the gas tax has a chance to pass.

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Blount Mansion plans celebration

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

Blount Mansion celebrates Constitution Day at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16. Speakers include state Sen. Doug Overbey of Maryville and City Council member Marshall Stair. The public is invited.

The U.S. Constitution was signed 229 years ago on Sept 17, 1787. William Blount signed for North Carolina, which then included parts of Tennessee. Blount served as governor of the Southwest Territory from 1790 to 1796, appointed by President Washington.

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Steve Hall gets Haslam money bomb

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

Despite never being a favorite of the Republican establishment, Steve Hall served two terms on City Council and two terms in the state House and was putting up other people’s signs for years before he ever ran for office. Closely associated with former state Sen. Stacey Campfield, Hall has always been an outsider, perhaps best illustrated by his 2006 run against incumbent Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale. He didn’t win, but he gave Ragsdale a brisk and unexpected challenge.

The Campfield relationship plus some missteps during Hall’s second House term – like landing on the wrong side of a controversy over changing Middlebrook Pike’s scenic highway designation at the behest of a new Tennova hospital facility and seeming to entertain conversation about selling Lakeshore Park – were a gift to his challenger, Martin Daniel, who ended up taking the seat in 2014.

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Rountree calls state funding formula ‘broken’

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

Two weeks ago, Amber Rountree, who served on a task force that studied disparities in academic performances among Knox County students, told her school board colleagues there’s something badly wrong with the state’s funding formula for education.

“You need to be talking to your state legislators about the fact that the BEP (Basic Education Plan) is broken, and our kids are not getting what they need,” said Rountree, who said that working on the task force taught her that most student disparities are caused by poverty, regardless of ethnicity or disability.

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Burchett to Haslam: Sorry, not sorry; principal of the year award baffles

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

Very little blowback and lots of attaboys – that’s what Mayor Tim Burchett says he’s gotten for his recent criticism of the Haslam administration’s refusal to kick in money for a facility to stabilize mentally ill and substance-addicted inmates. He made the rounds of the Sunday talk shows last month denouncing the state for reneging on a commitment to help fund a behavioral health urgent care unit (formerly known as the safety center).

Burchett says he’s confident that the project will move forward, one way or another.

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Where does Haslam stand on parkway extension?

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

What is going on with our TDOT Commissioner John Schroer, who is once again advocating the very expensive extension of the James White Parkway across the urban wilderness of South Knoxville?

Schroer works for Gov. Bill Haslam. How is it he comes to the governor’s hometown, where he was mayor for seven years, to advocate a controversial project? Was this with or without the governor’s approval?

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The good ol’ boys are back

Sandra Clark
Editor

Let’s review local winners and losers on March 1.

Winners have to include former Sheriff Tim Hutchison. He stepped out for Donald Trump when nobody else would. Trump’s Tennessee win puts Hutchison in the spotlight and he will make the most of it.

Tim Burchett called Bud Armstrong his friend three times in a 30-second TV spot. Bud rolled over the well-funded Nathan Rowell on his way to a second term as county law director.

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The human face of outsourcing

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

Tom Anderson has worked for the University of Tennessee 15 years come August. He’s in Facilities Services (formerly Physical Plant) and is a buyer in the supply warehouse.

A past president of United Campus Workers (affiliated with the Communication Workers of America), he and his wife have two children, ages 22 and 23, who want to continue their education. They live in the Whittle Springs area. Both he and his wife have pre-existing health conditions, and it took him years to top $30,000 annually at UT.

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