Saturday, October 10, 2020

Why I fear this election like no other.

Rebecca Ann Burke

I am just home from a wonderful visit to my 90+ year old parents' home in Ohio. They are well, and my daughter and I were well to visit with two negative COVID tests in one week. 

I made several observations on the national election while in Ohio. Democrats have an extremely active ground game in this key state. In the conservative, affluent suburb of Upper Arlington, which in 2016 was strongly for President Trump, there were many Biden signs, joined by signs which simply said, "Enough." Typically the same yards had a "Black Lives Matter" sign with clenched fist. It was very unsettling. There were sparce Trump signs. 

My family wanted one but were afraid. I asked about the neighbors who had Biden signs out. I heard what I am also witnessing in the conservative, Williamson County, Tennessee. These were new neighbors, young families, originally from California and Chicago. In Tennessee, these "liberal" territory new families have come here over the past four years for jobs. They have arrived with companies fleeing California and the state of Washington. Yet, defying wisdom, they bring their liberal politics with them. 

My mother commented that the Chicago family says, "things are so cheap here," and they comment on the quality of schools. The same is happening in red-state Tennessee. The disconnect with liberal policies in the states they fled is absent. They bring those liberal political ideas with them, changing the landscape here. They don't seem to see the reality in front of their faces. Better schools, safer neighborhoods and lower taxes and cost of living COME FROM CONSERVATIVE social and fiscal policies. THEY, from the liberal states, are RUINING our neighborhoods, cities, and states. They are importing the same failed policies and voting for failed far-left politicians that ruined their previous homes. 

Before I left town, it was reported that the Trump Administration has pulled a significant advertising buy in the battleground state of Ohio. He can't win re-election without Ohio. He was tied in the unreliable, but important polls, 46% to 46% with Biden. I know I can't gauge anything by yard signs, but the Democrats know the impact is psychological. Trump supporters, like my family, are afraid. They are afraid to put out signs. They are afraid to answer calls/polling on the phone. One can only hope that they are in huge numbers, those intimidated into not speaking their minds. 

What a sad state of affairs in this country. The riots around the country served their purpose for the Far Left....intimidate, deprive law and order citizens of their First Amendment rights to speak a different view. We already have one foot in Marxism. I fear this election like no other. 

Watch for further posts on where I think this election is going. I have saved up many observations and opinions. I hope you will join in with yours.

Rebecca Ann Buke is an astute political observer and one whose opinion I respect. She served as a member to the Tennessee Republican Party Executive Committee for District 23 from 2014-2018.  She is the past president of America First Federation. The above essay is reposted from Facebook.  

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Friday, October 09, 2020

Cato's report giving Governor Lee a "D" does not factor revenue jump counters Lee.

Cato's misleading report gives TN poor fiscal score, does not factor revenue jump

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Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Cato Institute scores Governor Bill Lee a dismal "D" for fiscal policy.

Gov. Bill Lee  
 by Rod Williams - The Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank based in Washington D.C., produces an annual report ranking the nations governors on fiscal policies from a limited government perspective. This year Tennessee's Governor Bill Lee scored a "D," missing an "F" by just one point.  The numeric score was 40, almost as bad as New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo who scored a 39.

I find this hard to believe but Cato is a source I trust.  Tennessee is often touted as one of the most fiscally responsible states in the union. We have low taxes and low debt. Looking back over previous years reports, I find that Cato has often given our governors a low score.  In 2018, 2014 and 2012 Governor Bill Haslam also scored a D.  In 2016, however, Governor Haslam earned a B.  In 2010, Phil Bredesen scored a C and in 2008 he scored a B.

The Cato score is based on seven tax and spend variables. These include growth in government spending, tax increases, and dipping into rainy day fund reserves which all negatively impact a score. Revenue-neutral tax reforms that include reductions in top income and sales tax rates are scored favorably as is repealing collective bargaining in the public sector.  To see the full report follow this link

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Survey of small business owners show gloomy forecast.

SURVEY: 1 in 5 Small Businesses Warn of Layoffs in Next Six Months 

NASHVILLE (Oct. 7, 2020), Press release – NFIB’s Research Center today released its latest national survey relating to COVID-19 and its impact on the small business economy. It shows a majority of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) borrowers have used all their loans and are preparing to apply for forgiveness. 

“It has been over six months from the onset of the health crisis and economic shutdowns and small businesses are still struggling,” said Holly Wade, Executive Director of NFIB’s Research Center.  “Owners are trying to reduce costs and adjust business operations to keep their doors open but for many, that’s not enough. Small businesses are in danger of closing for good if they don’t get additional financial assistance. Small businesses urge Congress and the Administration to agree on legislation that would aid the small business economy and allow small businesses to stay open and move forward.” 

State-specific data is unavailable, but NFIB State Director Jim Brown said, “While many business owners in Tennessee are reporting stable to good conditions, certain industries remain in peril and need immediate federal relief to avoid more closures and layoffs.” 

Key findings from the survey include
  • The vast majority of PPP borrowers (86%) have spent their entire loan and are ready to apply for loan forgiveness. 
  • After using the PPP loan, 22% of borrowers anticipate having to lay off employees in the next six months. 
  • About half (49%) of borrowers anticipate needing additional financial support over the next 12 months. If eligible, 44% of small business owners would apply or re-apply for a second PPP loan. Thirty percent would consider applying for a PPP loan. 
  • Nearly half (47%) of small businesses pay rent on property that is owned by an owner of the business. The SBA recently limited permissible rent expenses for forgiveness; this restricted definition of rent payments eligible for forgiveness impacts many PPP borrowers. 
  • About one-third of small business owners have applied for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan. The vast majority (80%) of applicants had their loan approved, 13% of applicants were denied. 
  • Sales levels are still 50% or less than they were pre-crisis for about one-in-five (21%) small businesses. Twenty-eight percent of businesses are at sales levels 50%-74% from pre-crisis. Over one-third (37%) are back or nearly back to where they were with sales between 75%-100% of pre-crisis levels. Seventeen percent report exceeding pre-crisis sales levels. 
  • Most small business owners do not expect business conditions to improve to normal levels until next year at the earliest. Over half (60%) of owners anticipate it taking until sometime in 2021 and 20% anticipate sometime in 2022. Only 4% say that conditions are back to normal now. 
  • Of the 79% of business owners who pay rent or a mortgage on property used for business purposes, 21% have asked their lender or owner of the property about deferring their payments. Of the 21% who asked, 65% were allowed payment deferral. 
  • Of the 46% of small business owners with a business term loan or line of credit, 15% of them have asked their lender about payment deferral and 78% were approved. 
  • Only 4% of small business employers have or plan to take advantage of deferring their employees' Social Security tax. 
The full survey is available here.

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Monday, October 05, 2020

There has been a large drop in Metro School enrollment. State money follows the child and this loss of revenue concerns school officials.

by Rod Williams - I am not an education consultant but when we shifted school from students being in the classroom to virtual learning from home, I could have predicted this would happen.  Metro is losing students. 

"More than 6,900 students have withdrawn from the state's second-largest school district since the school year began virtually on Aug. 4 — about 57% of the total number of students who withdrew from the system during the entire 2019-20 school year," reports The Tennessean.

Why this is happening is not hard to figure out.  With Children learning from home in front of a computer, and engaged parents helping their children, many parents may have decided that they could home school.  Before, they thought it was too daunting a task. Learning from home but still part of the Metro School System was like a half-way step and an opportunity to see what it would be like without jumping in with both feet. 

Also, I suspect that when parents had the opportunity to see what their children were being taught, they were disappointed that it did not align with their values or that it was insufficiently​ challenging and rigorous.  They may have decided their child would get a better education in a private school or home schooled or another district.  

As Metro has delayed reopening while other counties opened, some parents may have decided now was a good time to relocate, so some families moved away.  They may have realized that while the commute may be a little longer, housing cost is cheaper and their children would get a better education in Wilson County or some other nearby county. 

Some older, less-disciplined students doing poorly in school anyway, probably found it easier to skip virtual school than real school and fell further behind and decided to just drop out.  That is a shame but I can understand how it would happen. 

"Of the 6,902 students who have withdrawn from Metro Schools since August, 2," the article reports, "2, 902 have moved out of Nashville to another public school system; 1,137 have moved out of state; 568 have opted to home school and 1,074 have enrolled in a non-public school." The 1,221 balance are students considered "dropped out" or a few various other categories. Of course, we don't know if the dropped out stayed dropped out or ended up somewhere else.

Just as it was easy to predict that the switch from real school to virtual school would lead to a decline in enrollment, it was easy to predict what school officials and school board members would say about it.  At the last school board meeting, Chief Operating Officer Chris Henson told the board that the loss of enrollment could result in a loss of between $11 million and $12 million.  This loss would be from the state which pays the school system $3,655 per student.  There is a lot of bemoaning this loss of revenue. 

This loss of revenue seems reasonable to me. If you are serving fewer students it should not take the same amount of money as it does to serve a greater number of students.  Now, to be fair, in the short run, some overhead cost are fixed so not all cost decline immediately when enrollment declines. Unfortunately, Metro School administration think overhead should never be cut.  This is the argument they use in opposing charter school. Despite that the burden of educating that child is shifted to a charter school, Metro school officials and board members still want the revenue. They want the child because they want the revenue. 

This loss of students actually gives Metro Schools more money to educate each child.  Metro Schools still gets the same $3,655 from the state per student for those students remaining.  Metro Schools gets about 37% of Metro's total revenue. Metro does not allocate money to the School Board on a per child basis, but allocates a lump sum dollar amount.  So, the money Metro provides to the school system does not decline with declining enrollment, so with declining enrollment, Metro Schools have more money per child.  That is the way one ought to view a declining enrollment; not as a loss of revenue but as increase in the money per child the school system gets for educating children.  

Metro's declining enrollment did not just suddenly happen with the Covid-19 pandemic.  There was a jump this year but Metro's student enrollment has been declining in real numbers since 2016 and as a ratio of school enrollment to population longer than that. As our population has been growing our school enrollment has been dropping. The surrounding counties school enrollment has been increasing.  This tells me that parents are voting with their feet.  They see Metro schools as failing and know their child can get a better education in a nearby county.  It is possible to get a good education in Nashville's public schools but there are simply not enough Grandberys and Hume Foggs to go around. Metro Schools should worry less about social engineering, cut the blotted bureaucracy, and improve our schools so parents want to send their child to a Metro school. Be it a charter school or a traditional school, a quality education for every child should be the goal. 
For more on this topic follow this link and this link

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Sunday, October 04, 2020

Taxpayer funded corporate incentives fail to produce promised jobs

By Anita Wadhwani, Tennessee Lookout - When Canadian entrepreneurs touting a healthy new snack product scouted Kingsport, Tenn. as their new headquarters in 2015, local economic development officials like Clay Walker were enthusiastic. They sampled the gluten-free, non-GMO fruit and vegetable bars and worked to seal a deal that would bring 273 jobs to the northeast Tennessee town of 54,000 in exchange for a $1.2 million state grant. 

Within a year, however, Pure Foods declared bankruptcy without ever having filled the promised jobs. (This happens so often it is not a surprise. Read more.)

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Biden & Harris, You’re Not Safe With Them

Biden & Harris, You're Not Safe With Them from Moms for Safe Neighborhoods on Vimeo.

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