Elizabeth Lauten resigns: Why critics attack first daughters at their perilThe news that Republican congressional aide Elizabeth Lauten quit her job Monday after her controversial Facebook post criticizing the Obama daughters isn't surprising, given the mass amount of coverage her post generated.
And if there's one area where most Americans – regardless of party loyalty – seem united, it's in agreeing that the children of sitting presidents should be off-limits for the sort of snide commentary their parents routinely get.
"Attack OBAMA for his policies.But CHILDREN ARE OFF LIMITS" read one typical Twitter post after Lauten's post went viral last week, and Tweeps piled on the rage – and demanded her dismissal – using the #ElizabethLauten hashtag. LINK
House Democrats reelect Fitzhugh leader; Stewart as chairmanHouse Democrats have re-elected Rep. Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley as minority leader and named Rep. Mike Stewart of Nashville as caucus chairman.
Stewart replaces former Rep. Mike Turner, who retired this year, in the party’s No. 2 leadership position.
Both Fitzhugh and Stewart were elected without opposition. Democrats hold 26 of 99 seats in the House, and several members expressed hope that this will be the smallest caucus they ever serve in. LINK
State Lawmakers Will Try To Eliminate Hall Income TaxThere will be another push next year by Tennessee state lawmakers to eliminate the Hall Income Tax.
That's Tennessee's tax on investment income, but state legislators won't be getting much help from Governor Bill Haslam.
Governor Haslam said the state can't afford it.
The Hall Income Tax generates millions of dollars to help pay for state programs.
Haslam told the Rotary Club of Nashville Monday eliminating the tax in the short term is not feasible.
"I'd love to see us do away with it. Right now the revenue situation that I think we're going to be in for the next year or two I don't see that happening," said Governor Haslam. LINK
Leaders challenged for top posts in Tennessee state House
A pair of Southeast Tennessee Republicans is in the cross-hairs along with state House Speaker Beth Harwell in upcoming leadership elections.
Harwell, seeking her third term as House speaker, is facing attacks from the far right of her party from Rep. Rick Womick.
Rep. Kevin Brooks, of Cleveland, is trying to hold on to his position as House assistant majority leader, and Rep. Cameron Sexton, of Crossville, hopes to hang as majority whip.
Womick, of Rockvale in Rutherford County, has heavy weapons on his side: The head of the Tennessee Firearms Association is calling on his members to “demand” GOP legislators back Womick in his challenge to Harwell.
“Conservatives must take action now to help define the leadership of the Tennessee General Assembly for the next 2 years,” Firearms Association Executive Director John Harris wrote in an email. “It is URGENT that you contact your House Members now to ask them to vote for Rep. Rick Womick for House Speaker to lead the real conservative revolution in Tennessee.” LINK
House GOP preparing vote on tax breaksCongress routinely passes the package of temporary tax breaks every year or two, drawing complaints from business groups that it is hard to plan from year to year.
A one-year package would bring more uncertainty next year. But it could give GOP lawmakers more leverage to eventually shape a long-term plan because Republicans take control of the Senate in January.
Business leaders have been pushing lawmakers to pass a long-term plan in the hope that it would help clear the way for Congress to focus on a broad overhaul of the entire tax code next year. Instead, lawmakers could find themselves replaying old fights over temporary tax breaks.
"I hate to say that it's difficult for Congress to walk and chew gum at the same time, but sometimes it is," said Rachelle Bernstein, vice president and tax counsel for National Retail Federation. "We've been through this over and over again."
Among the biggest breaks for businesses is a tax credit for research and development, an exemption that allows companies to shield foreign profits from being taxed by the U.S., and several provisions that allow businesses to write off capital investments more quickly.
There is also a generous tax credit for using wind farms and other renewable energy sources to produce electricity.
The biggest tax break for individuals allows people who live in states without an income tax to deduct state and local sales taxes on their federal returns. Another protects struggling homeowners who get their mortgages reduced from paying income taxes on the amount of debt that was forgiven. LINK
Report: Gas prices could dip below $2 in TN
Even if you have to travel this weekend, one of the busiest on the roads, there's something to be thankful for: low gas prices.
According to AAA, the average price for a gallon of unleaded gas in the U.S. has fallen to $2.78, the lowest it's been since 2010. In Tennessee the average is even lower at $2.57 per gallon of gas and Knoxville is sitting at $2.58.
One year ago, AAA said gas was $3.15 for a gallon of gas.
In even more exciting news, we could see an even bigger drop in Tennessee.
The website 24-7 Wall Street is reporting eight states-- including Tennessee-- will have gas prices below $2 a gallon as early as next year.
24-7 Wall Street Most said the states likely to have lower prices have three things in common: the general drop in oil prices, proximity to large refineries, and low state gas taxes. LINK
Crockett Policy Institute