Thursday, March 5, 2009

Chip & the Democrats in a Clusterfluff over Tax Breaks for Tycoons

Posted By on Thu, Mar 5, 2009 at 5:19 AM

click to enlarge oie_chipforrester7.jpg
It could have been a defining issue for the next elections, a chance for Democrats to make hay. Instead, they're going to screw it up. What else is new? We're talking about the governor's attempt to close the loophole letting real-estate tycoons escape taxes in a time of fiscal meltdown. It's one of his biggest bills this legislative session. State records show $1 billion worth of the commercial rental properties that qualify for this tax break are owned by investors who don't even live in Tennessee.

But House Democratic leader Gary Odom, tireless defender of the extremely wealthy, is against the bill, mainly because his developer buddy, Bill Freeman, is against it too. Freeman, who personally benefits from the loophole, is also the new treasurer of the state Democratic Party. His boss, Chip Forrester, is at odds with the governor, who opposed Forrester's election as party chair and refuses to patch things up.

With Bredesen's bill coming up in the legislature soon, Pith in the Wind talked to Forrester about how the party will cross these dark and treacherous waters. Not surprisingly, he didn't have much to say. Asked whether he thinks lawmakers should close the loophole as Bredesen is demanding, the chairman of the governor's party replied, "I really don't know."

"That's sort of a legislative matter," he added, "and I think I'll stay out of the middle of that one."

What about Freeman? As a party officer, will he stay out of it too? "I have haven't spoken with him. I'd be uncomfortable speaking for him on it until I know where he stands," Forrester says. "I'd like to ask him first before I speak on his behalf. I'd be glad to talk to him and get back to you."

To summarize, the Democrats are seriously f*#!ing themselves as usual. Predictably, Republicans are defending this tax break for the rich, offering Democrats a great opportunity to show voters that they are the party for working people. Only in Tennessee would the Democratic Party remain neutral on a bill proposed by a Democratic governor to make tycoons pay their fair share of taxes. Only in Tennessee would the Democratic leader of the House oppose the governor on this bill. It's all the more ludicrous when you consider the depressing state of the economy with working people all over the state struggling to feed their families.

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