Friday, May 14, 2021

Nashville property tax hike: Commission's decision likely clears way for single-issue referendum in July. Metro's counter measure not on the ballot.

by Yue Stella Yu, Nashville Tennessean - Unless a court rules otherwise, voters will not see a Metro-backed option on the July 27 ballot against the anti-property tax hike proposal, the Davidson County Election Commission decided Thursday night. 

The commissioners — who voted 3-2 Monday to hold a July referendum on efforts to reverse Nashville's property tax hike — will seek a court opinion on whether a Metro-backed measure could go on the same ballot. 

The council-approved alternative, which would offset the anti-tax hike initiative, is now in the hands of the court following a 3-2 vote by election commissioners along party lines. The commission will seek a court opinion on the legitimacy of the proposal and urge the Metro council to revise it in the meantime. (link)

Facebook post from Jim Roberts:

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Feds keep borrowing trillions, but someone will eventually have to pay for it

Weston Wamp is the founder of the Millennial Debt Foundation based in Chattanooga. Tennessee. 

by Weston Wamp, Guest Columnist, The Tennessean - As the pandemic continues to be used as justification for historic levels of deficit spending, the certainty with which progressives are banking the fiscal future of the country on the dubious Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) should be concerning to all young Americans. 

Voltaire famously said, “Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” 

Before the deluge of new debt incurred as a result of COVID-19, the United States was entering an era of structural budgetary shortfalls with deficits projected to range between $1 trillion and $3 trillion annually over the next 30 years.

Hoping to rewrite the rules of history, creative minds offered a new economic theory positing that debt does not matter so long as a country can print its own currency. 

...former Tennessee Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen and King, a former governor himself, too expressed skepticism that massive deficits are sustainable. Bredesen referred to MMT as “absurd on the face of it” before adding, “at the end of the day there is no free lunch here.” 

...“my generation is spending your money.” MMT, King said, is popular because “it is easy. Who doesn’t like to spend?” “It ain’t monopoly money,” King said. (read more)

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Thursday, May 13, 2021

End Washington Waste!! with Tim Phillips and Congressman Mark Green

Event by Americans for Prosperity - Tennessee 

Bold Patriot Brewing Company 
Monday, May 24, 2021 at 6 PM CDT 
Price: Free Public · 
Anyone on or off Facebook Join Americans For Prosperity President, Tim Phillips, and Congressman Mark Green as they discuss President Biden's $4 trillion "infrastructure" plan. It isn't about roads and bridges - it is another attempt to leverage one of our nation's great challenges in order to enact a list of partisan policies we know won't work at the worst possible time. The first round of drinks is on us!! See Less

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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The Fairgrounds Speedway Needs your support!


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This is the Least Expensive Zip Code in Tennessee: 38127 in Memphis, Tennessee, but you wouldn't want to live there.

by Samuel Stebbins, 24/7 Wall St. via The Center Square, May 7, 2021- The COVID-19 pandemic had devastating economic consequences in the United States, grinding entire industries to a halt. One sector that did not suffer, however, was real estate. 

Driven by the pandemic, existing home sales hit their highest level in nearly a decade and a half in 2020. The median home sale price in the United States was $265,000 in 2020 -- $30,000 more than it was the previous year. 

A quarter of a million dollars, however, is not affordable for many Americans. Still, for those on a tight budget, there are many parts of the country where most homes are selling for far less. Using median home sale prices provided by ATTOM Data Solutions, a real estate and property data company, 24/7 Wall St. identified the least expensive ZIP codes in each state. 

The 38127 ZIP code in Memphis, Tennessee, is one of several in the broader Memphis metro area to report some of the lowest median home sale prices in the last year. A total of 871 area homes were bought and sold in 2020, and the median sale price was just $45,000. Home values are often a reflection of what area residents can afford -- and just as home values are low in the area, so are incomes. 

The typical household in the 38127 ZIP code earns just $29,798 a year, less than half the national median income of $62,843. Both incomes and home values are also affected by the local job market to some degree. Over the last five years, 11.0% of area workers were unemployed, more than double the comparable 5.3% national unemployment rate. 

ZIP codes were ranked based on median sales price of condos and single-family homes in 2020. Only ZIP codes with at least 1,000 single-family homes and condos and where at least 500 of housing units were sold in 2020 were considered. The estimated market value is determined by ATTOM's automated valuation model. Supplemental data on median household income, the share of households that are at least 50 years old, and unemployment are five-year estimates at the ZIP code level for 2015-2019 from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

but, you wouldn't want to live there.

by Rod Williams - Location, location, location. Housing may be affordable in zip code 38127, but you wouldn't want to live there. The population is 82% Black. The population is less educated. Household that received Food Stamps/SNAP in the past 12 months: 4,774.  Household that did not receive Food Stamps/SNAP in the past 12 months: 9,081. 

Crime data for the zip code is not available in this report listed below, but I am betting it is extremely high. For more data on zip code 38127, follow this link.  

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Tennessee Business Groups Praise Governor Lee’s Action to End Participation in Federal Unemployment Program

NFIB press release, NASHVILLE, May 11, 2021 — Tennessee’s most prominent business groups across the state in a variety of sectors today thanked Gov. Bill Lee for addressing the labor shortage crisis by ending our state’s participation in the federal unemployment program that gives people extra weekly unemployment benefit payments. Tennessee employers have noted that enhanced unemployment benefits are a major contributor to severe labor shortages across the state impeding economic recovery and challenging business operations and service to customers. 

Beginning July 3, unemployed workers in the state will no longer receive $300 in extra weekly benefits authorized by the federal government through Sept. 6. The groups below signed the following statement: 
We thank Governor Lee for his prompt action to address an unprecedented labor shortage. Tennessee is open for business, but ‘Help Wanted’ signs are posted across our state. 

Our members continue to report few available workers and repeated skipped interviews for open jobs.  The labor shortage is at an all-time high in Tennessee and nationally, according to an NFIB survey. Forty-four percent of small business owners report having job openings they could not fill, 22 points higher than the 48-year historical average and the third consecutive month with a record-breaking reading. 

We understood the need for the initial enhancement of unemployment benefits last year when jobs were scarce and many businesses were closed; however, with continued economic recovery and many available jobs, it’s critical that national and state leaders remove any and all barriers to help achieve full recovery and keep more Tennessee businesses from closing. Despite increasing wages and offering ‘show-up’ bonuses, Tennessee business owners are frustrated in being unable to fill hundreds of thousands of open positions. 

Since last year, thousands of entrepreneurs have lost their businesses in our state, and thousands more are in jeopardy of losing their lifetime investments in their businesses, workers and communities. Governor Lee’s action to exit the federal unemployment program will help many job creators stay afloat. 

We call on leadership in Congress to take immediate actions to get people back to work and continue the post-pandemic recovery that all Tennesseans want to experience.

AGC of Tennessee 
Associated Builders & Contractors of Greater Tennessee 
Bristol Chamber of Commerce 
Chattanooga Area Chamber 
Home Builders Association of Tennessee 
Hospitality TN 
Jackson Chamber 
Kingsport Chamber  
Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce 
National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) 
Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry 
Tennessee Fuel & Convenience Store Association 
Tennessee Grocers & Convenience Store Association 
Tennessee Road Builders Association

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Nashville sues Davidson County Election Commission over decision to place anti-tax measure before voters

by Yue Stella Yu,  Nashville Tennessean, 5/11/2021 - Metro Nashville has sued the Davidson Election Commission over its decision to place an anti-tax referendum before voters on July 27, arguing the initiative is flawed and unconstitutional and will cause financial loss to the city. 

The lawsuit, filed in Davidson County Chancery Court on Tuesday, is the latest in an intensifying, months-long brawl between city officials and the group 4 Good Government over efforts to reverse Nashville's recent property tax increase. Jim Roberts, local attorney organizing the petition efforts, said he is not surprised by the lawsuit. He called the court challenge a "poorly-drafted, poorly-reasoned Hail Mary" attempt to keep the initiative off the ballot. 

The Nashville Business Coalition also filed a separate lawsuit against the commission on the same day. It filed a motion asking the court to speed up its review of the case, documents show. (read more)

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Jewish Insider: Odessa Kelly stands up in Nashville

Odessa Kelly
by Rod Williams - Odessa Kelly, a Nashville progressive Democrat and political activist is mounting a primary challenge to long-serving Congressman Jim Cooper.  While the odds favor Cooper, Kelly may be a formidable challenger in the heavily Democratic 5th Congressional District.  For years, Jim Cooper presented himself as a moderate and was the leader of the so-called 'Blue Dog" Democrats.  At one time he was a leading voice in the Democrat Party expressing concern about the growing national deficit.  However, any legitimate claim Cooper may have once had to be a deficit hawk was lost long ago.  He now votes in lock-step with the Democrat Party and has stopped expressing concern about deficit spending.

My perception is that Odessa Kelly has a chance of taking the nomination from Jim Cooper.  Cooper was first elected in 2003.  The Democratic Party was certainly liberal then but also more establishment in those days.  Also, the electorate had roots in the community and the Coopers were a powerful political family.  As more newcomers have moved into the Nashville community the old family names don't carry the clout they once did. I would venture that most voters in the 5th Congressional District do not even know that Jim Cooper is the son of former Governor Prentice Cooper and if they do know, they could care less. 

Also, Cooper is kind of aloof and cold.  He doesn't scare a lot of people, but neither does he excite them.  While I would rather have a do-nothing, mainstream liberal like Jim Cooper serve in Congress as opposed to an activist from the AOC-Bernie Sanders wing of the Party, not by much.  I don't think there is enough difference between liberal Jim Cooper and progressive Odessa Kelly to make me vote in the Democrat primary and cast a vote for Jim Cooper. 

Having Odessa Kelly as the nominee of the Democrat Party may even improve the chances for a Republican challenger.  Cooper has always had some support from the business faction and silk-stocking faction of the Republican Party. Establishment Republicans will be less inclined to support Odessa Kelly.  Also, if there are any undecided persuadable voters left, the Republican alternative to the Democrat will look better, if the Democrat is the activist firebrand Kelly as opposed to the less threatening, boring, moderate-appearing, Jim Cooper. 

The following article from Jewish Insider profiles Odessa Kelly and examines the campaign.

Odessa Kelly stands up in Nashville
By Matthew Kassel, Jewish Insider,  May 6, 2021 - Justice Democrats launched an early warning shot into Middle Tennessee last month when it backed Nashville activist Odessa Kelly in her bid to unseat a House Democrat with deep establishment ties at the state and national levels. As the first primary challenger of the 2022 cycle to have earned an endorsement from Justice Democrats, Kelly is hoping an imprimatur from one of the nation’s leading progressive groups will lend some initial momentum to her fledgling campaign. 

“I didn’t want to be one of those people that was just running to get their name out there and have a moral victory,” Kelly, 39, told Jewish Insider in a recent interview. “I want to win this race.” So far, Kelly’s decision to jump in well ahead of next year’s August primary seems to have paid off, at least financially. Within 36 hours of announcing her candidacy, the nonprofit leader and former civil servant reported that she had raised more than $100,000 for her insurgent campaign to take down Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN), the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrat whose legislative record is in many ways anathema to the party’s far-left flank. (continue reading)

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Effort to reverse Nashville's property tax hike can go before voters, election commission rules

by Yue Stella Yu, Nashville Tennessean, May 10, 2021 - Nashville voters could get the chance to decide how Metro government establishes its property tax rate, following a 3-2 vote by the Davidson County Election Commission Monday night. 

The vote represents the latest episode in a months-long fight over a petition to reverse the city's recent property tax increase. The date for the special election has been set for July 27 following a 3-2 vote along party lines. 

The panel's approval came after commissioners obtained a legal opinion from Vanderbilt University Professor Jim Blumstein, who was recently retained as the commission's legal counsel. The opinion states it is the commission's "duty" to place the initiative on the ballot in 75 to 90 days. (read more)

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Sunday, May 09, 2021

State legislature passes Civil Asset Forfeiture reform

by Rod Williams - While I wish Tennessee would impose an outright ban on Civil Assess Forfeiture, I am, nevertheless, thankful for halfway measures. The State legislature has passed and sent to the governor HB1254 which authorizes a person to seek attorney’s fees in a civil asset forfeiture case when the claim is brought in a contested case hearing. This would allow individuals who wrongfully had their property seized to recover damages up to $10,000 and removes the 25% value cap. Under current law, damages are capped at 25% of the value of the cash or property up to $3,000. The governor should sign this bill.  

While I am generally pro-law enforcement, often the police like laws like civil asset forfeiture and other measures that make policing easier.  Policing is easier in a police state.  We should not have a knee-jerk reaction to "support the police," when supporting the police means disregarding civil liberties.  

Of course, policing is easier if police can operate under the premise of "guilty until proven innocent."  It is also easier if police can conduct searches without a warrant or beat confessions out of suspects. There is nothing "conservative" about supporting policing tactics that fly in the face of basic constitutionally protected liberties.  

Civil asset foreclosure allows the police to seize assets if they suspect the asset, such as cash and cars, are used in a criminal enterprise.  To recover the seized asset one must prove they are innocent. This is just wrong. 

For more on Civil Asset Forfeiture, see the following:
Campaign to End Civil Asset Forfeiture in Tennessee 

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Public hearing on NASCAR racing at the Fairgrounds

 From Rick Williams, reposted from Facebook: 


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