Haslam makes a key appointment as Mumpower moves over to the Comptroller's office:
As Haslam announces that a major figure in Chattanooga public life will join his administration, a noteworthy political figure from Upper East Tennessee is about to take a key role in overseeing the State's fiscal health. Outgoing House Republican Leader Jason Mumpower, who will be formally replaced this coming Wednesday, has been named Chief Deputy Comptrollerunder Tennessee Comptroller Justin Wilson. In that office Mumpower will serve as Wilson's chief liaison to the General Assembly, a role to which he is very well-suited. Mumpower must have known that he would be in line for a position in the new order, because he told this writer last June "you may see me up here, but in a different capacity." It was predicted in this space that Mumpowerwould probably not be leaving politics, merely that he was leaving the House.
As Haslam himself has pointed out, he inherits a State that is in relatively good fiscal health when compared to its neighbors (all of whom, it should be pointed out, have State income taxes). However, to insure fiscal discipline in the future Haslam should slowly begin to wean Tennessee off of federal dependency. This isn't to say that we should take no federal money at all for schools, roads, or infrastructure, but we as a State and a people should find ways for our affairs to be less reliant on what Washington does with a budget and more concerned with what our elected representatives in Nashville are doing each spring.
Democrats can and have used the crossover vote as a means to impact Republican primary elections, especially in areas where they know that a Democrat cannot win. Republicans, conversely, have been known to do the same in parts of West Tennessee when a Republican couldn't be elected. I've consistently written against the practice, especially since I have never in my life voted in a Democratic primary. I am not a Democrat, so I have never believed that I should have a say in nominating candidates for a political party whose core principles I do not share and to which I have no intention of ever belonging. I do not believe that it is morally or ethically right for Democrats to vote in Republican primaries for the same reason. One Democrat here in town told me "if I'm going to have a say in who is elected around here, I have to vote in the Republican primary, otherwise I have no say." It is actually a compelling argument because of the integrity of the ballot, but it may also be the best argument for closed primaries to be had.
Now that Rep. Beth Harwell is the Republican nominee for Speaker of the House, she has gone to great pains to reassure her colleagues that there will be a conservative focus in the coming General Assembly-one that will focus, she has said, on insuring States' rights andlimiting government controlover small businesses and individuals in Tennessee. Perhaps as a show of seriousness with regard to the latter, Speaker Harwell might help advance legislation to limit or abolish so-called red light cameras in the State of Tennessee.
It is highly unlikely that the General Assembly would pass an executive budget as-is, no matter how much simpatico now exists between the incoming Governor and the new legislative leaders. The House and Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee and Budget Subcommittees deserve the opportunity to go through proposals with a magnifying glass if need ber to insure that the finished product is the best that can be produced for Tennessee taxpayers, and the sooner that then-Governor Haslam gets a rough budget to the House the more quickly that process can get underway.
Matthew 24:37-44: And as in the days of Noe, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, even till that day in which Noe entered into the ark, And they knew not till the flood came, and took them all away; so also shall the coming of the Son of man be. Then two shall be in the field: one shall be taken, and one shall be left.
Two women shall be grinding at the mill: one shall be taken, and one shall be left. Watch ye therefore, because ye know not what hour your Lord will come. But know this ye, that if the goodman of the house knew at what hour the thief would come, he would certainly watch, and would not suffer his house to be broken open. Wherefore be you also ready, because at what hour you know not the Son of man will come.
Listen to my reflections on the Gospel reading for the First Sunday of Advent.
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