SCHIP and the Tennessee State Income Tax-Ben Cunningham
August 25, 2007, 6:43 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

SCHIP and the Tennessee State Income Tax

The House has passed the SCHIP bill. To his great credit Rep. David Davis voted against this latest attempt at socialized medicine. Unfortunately Senators Alexander and Corker voted for this bill which will give free children’s health care to those whose annual income is as high as $51,000. The bill has yet to be reconciled in conference committee and the President has indicated he may veto the bill. The bill would be a real disaster for Tennessee in many ways. The Heritage Foundation has estimated Tennessee will actually lose $430 million more than it will receive.

However, for Tennessee, there is an even more sinister side to this bill. The bill increases the federal cigarette tax by 61 cents. This may well significantly increase the pressure for a Tennessee State Income Tax. Here is the sequence of events which SCHIP may trigger:

1- SCHIP will be financed by a 61 cent increase in the federal cigarette tax. If this bill is resolved in conference committee with the House version and the President backs down from his veto threat the price of cigarettes in TN will go up by both the 43 cent hike just passed by the TN General Assembly AND the 61 cents of federal increase.

2- The effect on the anticipated revenue gains from the 43 cent State increase will be dramatic. The 43 cent increase was budgeted to bring in $250 million the first year but everyone acknowledges this revenue will decrease over time. The 61 cent increase in federal taxes will accelerate the decrease in State revenues.

3- The new BEP calls for $500 million plus in new annual spending when it is fully funded.

4- Huge mandated increases in spending and a new revenue source that will now decline even faster than anticipated is a recipe for a fiscal crisis. A fiscal crisis that could well lead to more pressure for a State Income Tax. I hope taxpayers will inform Senators Alexander and Corker how this bill will affect Tennessee. Tell them to Vote NO on SCHIP.

Ben Cunningham


DRAFT LITE!!!-Guest POST From GMTC Listener Greg From Greeneville
August 16, 2007, 6:12 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I floated this idea on Today’s show 8/14/07 with Matthew about a limited draft. My idea is a draft of 1-2 years in the National Guard to be stationed with the US Borders. Keep the volunteer force for expedition forces. The National Guard could be used to help with border reinforcement, fighting fires, helping in the national park system (which has been undermanned for generations), and helping with other crisis situations with the country.

They would only be sent over seas if they volunteer. There are a number of schools, high school and college that are requiring community service and I feel that this could and should be expanded on a national scale. I have been working with youth and college age people for 15 + years and what I hear from them when they get in trouble is that they were “bored”. This can help those that can thrive if exposed to different environments.

I know that many do not like this idea. My thinking is that you take young people that the society has thrown away and expose them to positive work and work ethic then they change and often times are more productive. Just image the positive changes that one year of service can do. I have done and continue to serve my community in many ways and feel that if we can get past the ’60’s me me me me me thoughts that have been rotting our communities and get back to what Can I Do to Help our country has a chance of living on free for many generations!

Guest Post By GMTC Friend Jama Oliver-WC Proposed TAX INCREASE!!!
August 11, 2007, 1:16 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

While I am thrilled that the Washington County Commission voted down a wheel tax, I’m less than thrilled with the idea of a $0.45 property tax increase. I prefer a property tax over a wheel tax, because one can choose not to own property. Especially in this area, where mass transportation is virtually non-existent, one cannot choose not to own a car (at least not when one has to do things like, oh, I don’t know…drive to work) and, therefore, cannot choose not to pay the tax, if it is going to be – pardon the pun – too taxing to do so.  

My problem is not so much the paying of taxes, as I know it is necessary. My issue with government in general and our local government in particular, is their utter inability to spend carefully. I can’t imagine that any of our commissioners manage their family’s budget the way they manage the county’s budget (if they did, debt collectors would be chasing them down as they try to make it to the courthouse for meetings).  Time and again I have pointed out that, as individuals, we do not have the luxury of going out, buying whatever we want, and then demanding that our bosses increase our pay because, well, “we’ve already promised to pay for all this stuff!” This is exactly what our county commission has done with the new schools, school renovations and justice center.

I don’t even want to think what my husband would say to me if I came home with a brand new car and a mortgage for a new house and then demanded that he get a raise! I wouldn’t be divorced, but I dare say that I’d be delivering pizzas at night and then sleeping by myself for a while. (Maybe our commissioners need to start delivering pizzas to cover their overspending!) As angry as I am about the increase, I would imagine that those who live within the city limits, and are, therefore, paying both city and county taxes are even more miffed.

County property taxes are already higher than those in both Johnson City and Jonesborough, and this increase will only make them more so. Why is this the case, exactly? There are more “benefits” (depending on how you look at it) from government in the city, so why is it that the county government is taking more from us than the city governments? Schools? I mean, really, all government schools are terrible, but at least city government schools are less terrible than county schools, so surely that can’t be it.  

One thing I did notice is that the county’s website is a easier to navigate than Johnson City’s. Maybe that’s it….we’re paying for the better website! I’ll refrain from getting into the whole public education issue, as that is another blog for another day (but, those of you who know me, or have read my blog for a while, know that I’m staunchly opposed to government education). I do, however, want to point out the fact that in the 2006-2007 Washington County budget, $54,799,427 was allocated for schools, while $44,595,572 was allocated for everything else. The entire county was to run on less than what is taken to run the schools. Doesn’t that seem a bit, oh, shall we say…ridiculous?  

I’ll close with an offer: let me get my hands on the county’s budget and I’ll trim it like I trim my own. Ask my husband – it’ll hurt at first, but you’ll be oh-so-grateful when you can pay cash for a brand new van (or school, in the case of the County Commission) rather than being up to your eyeballs in debt.  Jama 

Welcome to the GMTC BLOG
August 9, 2007, 8:17 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Welcome to the official blog for “Good Morning Tri-Cities”.  Here you will find folks from our region sounding off on the issues of the day.  It is our hope that this will be another avenue for fans of GMTC and the topics and issues that are discussed as part of the Talk Show to be “aired”.  If you have questions about the GMTC blog or would like to be a guest poster please e-mail us at Thank you for listening to the Show and enjoy the GMTC BLOG!