The Best & Worst Lawmakers for Business in Tennessee
By Drew Ruble, BusinessTN.com
Sen. Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) Since Senate Speaker Ramsey—the first Republican to hold the office of Lt. Gov. since Reconstruction—assumed control of the state legislature’s upper chamber last year, the mindset of that group has become decidedly pro-business in bent. He’s seen to it that both Finance and Commerce committees have the needed pro-business votes on any given bill.
Ramsey is, however, working with a paper-thin majority, which has complicated his efforts to lead. He doesn’t have the leverage needed yet to force the Democratic-controlled House and Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen to play ball on his low tax agenda. Despite that slim majority, Ramsey has nevertheless been a key watchdog for business, for instance in holding on to the gains made in workers’ compensation reform a few years back. (There are constant threats.)
Though he appears on this list of best lawmakers for business for a second time, Ramsey and his Senate Republican majority has hiccuped on a pro-business agenda from time to time stemming mainly from their conservative stances on social issues. For instance, though a preponderance of business interests (not to mention Republican President George W. Bush) believe Pre-K expansion is key to improving educational performance and, eventually, workforce development, Senate Republicans in Tennessee view the program as an unnecessary substitute for a mother’s care, and argue it has shown no proven results. Ramsey has fought the governor’s Pre-K expansion plans, citing concern for runaway spending in a tight budget year.