Bo Watson

Legislators hammered corrections and parole officials Wednesday for running a system that allowed officers to waste time and tax dollars “monitoring” 82 dead criminal offenders. The revelation raises many questions, among them is how closely tabs are being kept on former inmates who’re actually still among the living, they said. “Its troubling enough to find […]

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Even outgoing legislators are permitted to let taxpayers foot the bill for out-of-state legislative trips, complete with a per diem, travel and lodging expenses.

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Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration is giving up on a plan to solicit more detailed information from companies receiving taxpayer-funded grants after hitting a snag in the Senate over which details should be made public. Sen. Bo Watson, a high-ranking Republican who is carrying the measure, opted to shove the bill in a defunct subcommittee that […]

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The program budget would more than double under a bill approved by the state House Wednesday and proposed by the governor. Winning businesses could use the FastTrack grants to pay for expenses such as temporary office space and building repairs.

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A legislative effort to prevent the public from seeing certain information state government wants to collect from businesses seeking millions in Tennessee taxpayer-financed handouts got bogged down Monday night amid concerns over the bill’s scope. Lawmakers on the floor of the Tennessee Senate debated for about half an hour whether the Department of Economic and […]

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The governor wants to pump $70 million into the Fast Track grant program which is used to entice companies like Amazon to locate in Tennessee in addition to tax incentives and tax credits. Under a bill that gained committee approval Tuesday, the state would collect more information from applying businesses but share none of it with taxpayers.

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Press Release from the Office of Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey: (January 4, 2011, NASHVILLE) — Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey today announced the release of the Senate’s first-ever Republican-drawn redistricting map. The plan was put together by the Senate’s Working Group on Redistricting with the assistance of the Office of Legal Services and is now available […]

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The state’s education commissioner says it’s unfair for critics of the new system for grading educators to charge that he and his staff are favoring the opinions of principals over teachers.

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Political leaders characterized a new tax deal the state has struck with Amazon as an improvement on an earlier deal rather than a reversal of position. The Bredesen administration had given Amazon a pass on collecting sales taxes. A new Haslam plan requires collection starting in 2014 and expands Amazon’s presence here.

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The new Senate speaker pro tem said he has been satisfied with efforts at the Department of Revenue to make such private letter rulings — statements issued to taxpayers — more open. The issue has been heightened by Amazon’s move to the state and its exemption from collecting sales taxes.

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The GOP lawmaker from Oak Ridge, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, called Haslam’s efforts to establish a long-term relationship with Amazon on sales tax collections a ‘win-win’ for the state. McNally supports forcing the online retailer to collect taxes from Tennesseans.

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Top level leaders say they’ve only begun redrawing legislative lines, but it’s clear that they’ll focus more on protecting their own than attacking the minority party.

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