Here's more from Ron Ramsey's Q&A with Republicans at today's First Tuesday Club meeting. He called for legalizing direct contributions from corporations to political candidates, and he took a swipe at Zach Wamp as a Washington insider "who's never seen an earmark he didn't like."
Asked for his reaction to the Supreme Court ruling that the federal government may not ban political spending by corporations in elections, Ramsey said:
A lot of people think that now I, Ron Ramsey, candidate for state Senate, can take contributions from corporations. We can't. What can happen is corporations can pool their money and run independent expenditures. Me as a state senator whether I'm running for office or whether I'm running for governor ... I want to be able to control my message. So it scares me just a tad. So I think what we need to do in the state of Tennessee is what about 28 other states do and allow direct corporate contributions to candidates here in the state of Tennessee. It will allow you to control your message. ... I am for full disclosure. In today's world with the computer technology that we have, there's no reason every contribution you get shouldn't be online in 72 hours. ... I think this session you'll see a movement in that direction.
Asked to respond to Wamp's criticism that Ramsey voted for the largest tax increase in Tennessee history, Ramsey said:
Just write this down, this is coming out, that Ron Ramsey voted for a large tax increase in the state of Tennessee. Let's think back. This was July 11, 2002. The state government had been shut down for 11 days. It wasn't shut down but they said it was shut down. The proponents of an income tax were bound and determined to keep us here until we bled more. I actually heard that quote from a state senator. 'The people haven't felt it enough. The people need to bleed more.' I actually heard that quote. The goal was to keep us there, ever how long it took, until we finally gave in. They were within two or three votes of making this happen. In the end, we pulled together a coalition, Democrats and Republicans, passed the sales tax increase, drove a stake in the heart of the income tax forever and went home. Now I'm going to be criticized for that because I voted for that. But you know what? I also this year am going to vote for spending cuts too. My good friend Zach Wamp has never voted for a spending cut. He's never seen an earmark he didn't like, and we can't do that here in the state of Tennessee. We have to live within our means. That means voting for cuts as well as not voting for taxes.