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I look forward to seeing you tomorrow night at the State Capitol.
Protecting Our State Parks
On Thursday February 16th, Sen. Lee Harris and I held a town hall discussion at Montgomery Bell State Park. This was the second such town hall we have hosted at a state park to discuss the governor’s outsourcing and privatization plans. Again, the meeting was well attended by state workers, local officials and parks supporters. While the plans for handing over the keys to Montgomery Bell are not as far along as Fall Creek Falls State Park, it is on the list. Sen. Harris and I have again introduced legislation to provide much needed legislative oversight of these types of third-party contracts being entered into unilaterally by the governor. We will continue to lead the opposition to the governor’s outsourcing efforts at our state parks, colleges, prisons and other state facilities until any reliable proof of cost-savings, improved government efficiencies, or other acceptable reason is presented.
If you have an opinion about the governor’s efforts to outsource jobs and privatize our state parks, I encourage you to share your opinion with Commissioner Martineau and Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill at (888) 891-8332. You may call Governor Haslam at (615) 741-2001.
If you have an opinion about the governor’s efforts to outsource jobs at our state colleges and universities, I encourage you to share your opinion with Commissioner Bob Oglesby at (615) 741-9263 and Terry Cowles and Governor Haslam at (615) 741-2001. I direct you to the governor’s office for Mr. Cowles, because for some reason, the state website does not list a phone number for him. He works for the governor and makes $150,000 per year so the governor’s office should be more than happy to re-direct your calls.
On Monday, February 13th, Sen. Sara Kyle and I unveiled our own transportation funding proposal. The press packet containing our press release, slide deck, and one-pager can be accessed here. While we are enthusiastically promoting our alternative to the governor’s funding plan, we will consider our efforts a success if we can convince the governor to incorporate certain key concepts of our plan into his IMPROVE Act. This week, he did just that by adopting a key part of our plan that provides local governments more discretion and empowers them to generate new transportation revenues in ways other than increasing local sales taxes.
Last Monday, I had the pleasure of joining David Plazas at the offices of The Tennessean for a Live Chat about our transportation proposal and a general discussion about transportation policy.
My legislation that is scheduled to be heard in subcommittees this week:
HB1243 – TNFORWARD
HB374 – Creates a sales tax exemption for required reading materials in high school and higher education classes
HB46 – Exempts professionals from the professional privilege tax during their first year practicing their profession