July 25, 2008
Republican Leaders take Bredesen to task for saying he would eliminate sales tax holiday
Republicans say Department of Revenue tactics are abuse of power
(NASHVILLE, TN), July 25, 2008 — Senate Republican Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville), Senate Republican Chairman Diane Black (R-Gallatin), House Republican Leader Jason Mumpower (R-Bristol) and House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada (R-Franklin) today took Governor Phil Bredesen to task for his statement that he would eliminate the sales tax holiday if he could. The Republican lawmakers said there are some pork projects that could be cut, like Bredesen’s plan to build a ballroom at the governor’s mansion, to help with current budget woes that would better serve the public than eliminating a minimal tax break given to hard working
families buying school supplies.
“With gas prices soaring and food costs increasing, it is shameful that Governor Bredesen doesn’t think working class families deserve a small tax break,” said Rep. Mumpower. “If the governor really wants to save the state $13 million he ought to grab a shovel and go fill in that gaping hole in his front yard at the governor’s residence,” Mumpower
added about the ballroom bunker which is being added to accommodate parties at a cost of approximately $13 million.
“In these economic times, our citizens need all the help they can get to make ends meet,” said Senator Black. “The sales tax holiday is much appreciated and valued by moms and dads across our state who are faced with buying school clothes and school supplies in an ever-tightening economy.”
“Republicans fought very hard to pass this sales tax holiday,” said Senator Norris. “For him to dismiss what these savings mean to Tennessee families is downright appalling.”
The suggestion to do away with the sales tax holiday to cushion the budget comes just days after tapes were obtained by the Tennessee Policy Center of state tax auditors enjoying a week-long conference at the upscale Gaylord Opryland Hotel. The auditors were asked to perform disparaging song and dances about taking taxpayer money. The total cost of the trip was $142,000. This year’s “training week,” roughly a month from now, cost about the same.
“I was flabbergasted at the insensitive tactics and outright abuse of power that our Revenue Department employs to train auditors,” Black said. “These videos and Governor Bredesen’s recent comments show there is absolutely no respect for the taxpayers of Tennessee.”
One of the songs and dances depicted on the tape shows what appears to be a dead taxpayer and a grieving widow with the auditors dancing around to a rap song with the lyrics: “Go. Go. Go, money. It’s your tax day. We’re gonna party. Like it’s your tax day.” Another song mandated by Revenue officials for auditors to sing is “It’s my audit, and I’ll tax if I want to, tax if I want to, tax if I want to.”
“It is hypocritical for Bredesen and Democrats to be sending out announcements touting the upcoming tax holiday, while scheming to eliminate next year’s holiday from the budget and training auditors to abuse their power,” said Rep. Casada. “The sales tax holiday is just a drop in the bucket and won’t solve the quagmire Bredesen has spent
our state into. Here is yet another example about how our multi-millionaire elitist governor doesn’t understand the issues faced by average Tennesseans.”