Guess what, kids! There’s an election around the corner so this must mean it’s time for the Tennessee Republican Party to fearmonger about — wait for it — the state income tax! I know, whocouldathunkit, right? It’s true:
The Tennessee Republican Party is using an edited audio tape to raise the specter of Democrats pushing for a state income tax.
In a statement Tuesday, the TNGOP claimed that Flo Matheson, who is running against incumbent Rep. Cameron Sexton in House District 25, had “promoted the implementation of a progressive income tax and a living wage, and keeping in place the death tax.”
At the candidate forum where the clip was recorded, however, Matheson said she expressed support for a progressive income tax at the national level but not in Tennessee, and that the complete quote makes that clear.
Informed of the TNGOP’s version of her remarks, Matheson said her remarks were about the federal income tax, not a plan to push for one on the state level. She sounded stunned that they had been presented in any other way.
Every single election, Tennessee Republicans trot out the old state income tax canard, which last time I checked was pretty much killed forever when Republican Governor Don Sundquist proposed it and got summarily run out of town just inches ahead of a pitchfork-and-torch-bearing mob. But no, Tennessee Republicans love to trot the issue out every election, with constitutional amendments reaffirming an already existing ban on a state income tax. Such things are a part of pretty much every election — that and bans on abortion and gay marriage. Lather, rinse, repeat. If Tennessee’s Republican Party had a new idea it would die of loneliness.
As the City Paper article states, the Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled not once, not twice, but three times that the state constitution bans a state income tax. But without fearmongering about a state income tax, I guess Tennesseans have no reason to vote Republican.
Oh, but it gets better:
The release, which does not identify Matheson by name, included an eight-minute audio recording of some of Matheson’s remarks at the Monday morning candidates forum in the East Tennessee district. In the tape, Matheson can be heard expressing support for a living wage, and opposition to the repeal of the estate tax. Her remarks about an income tax, however, begin with less than 10 seconds left in the tape and are quickly cut off.
“Also, I support a progressive income tax, which would mean, you know, more taxes on the wealthy. I do know that fe… ,” she can be heard saying, at which point the tape ends.
“Fe…?” What could that be? I’m thinking … thinking … could it be “feta,” like the Greek cheese? “Fetid,” perhaps? “Feminism,” maybe? Or what about “federal,” like in federal taxes? Ya think?
This is weak, TNGOP. Really weak. And lame. Just the fact that you guys went to such great lengths to try to twist a candidates’ words into what is so obviously not her meaning, and that you’re sticking with it and running with it, speaks volumes about you. You’ve descended into self-parody.
Democrats, I hope you run with this one. I really do.