published Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Gov. Bill Haslam a wise leader in tough economic times

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    Republican Gov. Bill Haslam is pictured in this file photo. (Photo by Wade Payne, Special to the News Sentinel)

Gov. Bill Haslam is a fine, enthusiastic leader in tough economic times. His common sense and his sense of hope for Tennessee shone through in a visit Thursday to Chattanooga's Downtown Rotary Club.

He noted statistics showing optimism among Tennesseans about our economic prospects. Chattanoogans need look no further than the huge Volkswagen manufacturing plant at Enterprise South industrial park, as well as other major developments here over the past few years, to find justification for that optimism.

Spelling out his plans for progress, Haslam reiterated a proposal that lawmakers reduce the sales tax on food in Tennessee, from 5.5 percent to 5.3 percent at first, and eventually to 5 percent. That would make a difference to many families over time.

He also pointed out something that would be difficult to dispute: that he has been relentless in efforts to budget conservatively and to spend Tennesseans' tax dollars judiciously.

Not all his proposals to save money have been greeted enthusiastically, of course. He is taking some heat over the proposed closing of Taft Youth Development Center in Bledsoe County. The site is for serious juvenile offenders.

Taft's supporters point to the low recidivism rate of youths who go to the facility. There is also concern about job losses if the center is closed and the youths are sent to other facilities. But officials say the occupancy rate in such facilities around the state is too low, and that closing Taft would increase the rate and boost efficiency. They also say it would be too costly to perform renovations needed at Taft, and that most displaced Taft workers will be able to get jobs at a nearby prison opening next year.

Closing Taft is a hard call. But Haslam has a duty to promote efficient state services, and it seems some of the most serious objections to closing Taft have been answered.

The focus now should be on replicating at other juvenile facilities around the state Taft's success on recidivism rates.

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EaTn said...

The governor's proposal to reduce sales tax on food "from 5.5 percent to 5.3 percent at first, and eventually to 5 percent". What a noble gesture to save a middle income family that spends $200 per week on groceries a $1 in tax. The right thing to do is eliminate sales tax on groceries completely and give this family an extra $11 per week that could be used for something special like a kid's lunch money.

February 3, 2012 at 7:10 a.m.
librul said...

Or a book from Amazon, or three gallons of gas, or bus fare to the now distant grocery store, or .. oh heck, they're Republicans. It'll never happen.

February 3, 2012 at 8:33 a.m.
conservative said...

Notice how the discussion is on tax CUTS and not tax increases. Don't you just know Lieberals are gnashing their teeth. See the difference an election can make.

February 3, 2012 at 8:48 a.m.

Yeah, tax cuts you won't notice.

Great job there.

February 3, 2012 at 9:25 a.m.
hotdiggity said...
February 3, 2012 at 12:40 p.m.
outthere said...

Wise...not so much. Let's close Taft, let's send the 18 year old 6'4" 250 lb. gang bangers, murderers, rapists to the same institution with the 13 year old kids that won't go to school or shoplifted one too many times. Lets see how many kids get hurt, raped and how many employees get beat up. His whole plan is to privatize Childrens Services and make himself a fortune. Lets save a dollar and sacrifice the kids. It may be your kid or mine that makes a mistake and ends up in DCS. Are you willing to give up on the kids so that this guy can make a fortune from your tax money??? I'm Not!!

February 3, 2012 at 5:07 p.m.
what said...

If he was such a wise leader, he wouldn't be letting one of his incompetent employees, DCS Commissioner Kathryn O'Day, make such a fool out of him. And he would put someone in her place that actually knows about the job and can do basic math.

February 3, 2012 at 8:02 p.m.
Crossville said...

Wow, really? A .2% tax cut on groceries? LOL!!! No one will ever notice that cut!! Sorry, that decision is about as smart as the decision to close Taft. It all looks good on paper, I'm sure.. saving money for the state while adding money to the pockets of the already rich. And at the same time, it puts students and staff in other institutions as well as the surrounding counties in danger. That just sounds like a really "wise" decision, doesn't it? REALLY?? According to reports, Mr. Haslam also alotted $31 million dollars to rebuild a PRIVATELY OWNED prison! After a handsome "donation" was made to his election campaign that is. So, the state can afford to alott money to privately owned prison's but they can't afford to APPROPRIATELY take care of the kids that are in their custody? WOW, is all I can say! Wise? nah.

February 3, 2012 at 9:40 p.m.
justsaying94 said...

Yea he is really smart guy NOT!!! Look at the top headlines for today let face the gang problem. He himself stated that they start in their early teen becoming gang members. With that said let's close Taft Youth Center that handles these type of teens and they do a really good job with them. Yea give the elder (Haslam) a pat on the back can anyone say Loser.

February 5, 2012 at 9:40 a.m.
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