Sunday, 22 December 2002

Gerald Nicely to head TDOT

Bill Hobbs also passes on word that Gerald Nicely, the former head of Nashville's Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency, is Phil Bredesen's choice to head the Tennessee Department of Transportation (also reported by the AP); he plans to promote a needs-based program for new roads and concentrate on rural highways as an economic development tool.

If he can continue to push forward major needed projects like the Knoxville Outer Beltway (I-475), the south leg of TN 840, the Collierville-Arlington Parkway and Interstate 69 in West Tennessee with better attention to the environment and public relations than his predecessor, his appointment will be welcome. If, however, his appointment leads to diversion of transportation user fees (such as the gasoline and diesel fuel taxes) from highway maintenance and construction to general government purposes, Tennessee's taxpayers will be poorly served.

Tennessee Tax Reform

Bill Hobbs has an interesting op-ed on reforming Tennessee's tax system in today's Memphis Commercial Appeal; it's worth a read. Most of the objection to the Sundquist income tax was that it would potentially open the floodgates for profligate spending by the legislature; Bill's plan would help allay those fears.

His plan's probably worth implementing in Mississippi, too, which already suffers from a byzantine income tax (with bizarre effects at the low end) and relatively high sales tax.