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Problems of everyday Americans are invisible to our state leaders

COLIN BAXTER • Feb 7, 2014 at 9:10 AM

After reading the contributions of House Speaker Beth Harwell and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey that appeared in the Johnson City Press on Jan. 19, I was reminded of what Ronald Reagan once said to his opponent in a presidential debate, “Well, there you go again!” Well, there you go again Speaker Harwell and Lt. Gov. Ramsey with your solution to any and every problem, namely, “cut taxes.” What they really mean is cut taxes on the uber-rich. In the meantime, these members of the state Legislature are quite willing to see the middle class and the poor pay property taxes and the unfair sales tax. Instead of confronting the serious everyday problems with which Tennessee families must grapple, Harwell and Ramsey repeat by rote — cut taxes on the wealthy. Poverty, the minimum wage, help for working mothers, benefits for those who confront long-term unemployment, the devastating methamphetamine problem, college tuition debt and the fact that more working-age Americans are on food stamps are invisible problems to Harwell and Ramsey. On their watch, not only has income inequality increased in Tennessee, they have overseen the effort to prevent the elderly, the young, and minorities from voting. They claim a state budget deficit when this legislature has refused to accept available federal funds for health care. They have forgotten the far-sighted action of U.S. Rep. Jimmy Quillen, who fully participated in the battle to obtain federal funds for a medical school in northeast Tennessee. They have forgotten that Gov. Phil Bredesen obtained for Tennessee $500 million in federal funds for the “Race to the Top” in education. It is time to elect a new state Legislature.COLIN BAXTERKingsport

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