You know what I always say: nothing screams “small government” like a national corporate astroturf group getting your state legislature to crush a municipal transit project.
This won’t mean anything to anyone outside of Nashville, but the Amp has been a hotly debated, very controversial bus project proposed for our city, which sorely needs to improve its craptacular mass transit. I have some good friends in the “Stop-Amp” crowd and some good friends in the “Amp-Yes!” crowd and I’ve been on the fence until now.
The best argument the Stop-Amp folks had was that while the project is a good idea, the route was all wrong. But they pretty much ditched that argument when they got the state Senate to basically ban all mass transit projects in the city. How’s that small government workin’ for ya, folks? The fact that the major funder behind this nonsense is the awful Lee Beaman, who owns several major car dealerships in the city, might strike one as rather self-serving, as well.
So now we have the Kochs stinking up our capitol, and be careful who you align yourselves with, folks. Because having turned the state of Wisconsin into what Charlie Pierce calls “a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries,” it looks like Tennessee is next:
AFP pushes for low taxes, less government spending, more accountability and better schools, Ogles said. The Amp wasn’t the only excitement last week for the group, which has three employees but plans to double its staff soon.
AFP hailed a Senate committee’s passage of school voucher legislation, though it wasn’t as broad as the proposal the organization lobbied for, and the General Assembly’s approval of a measure requiring Gov. Bill Haslam to get legislative approval before expanding TennCare.
Not bad for an outfit that got started here just nine months ago with a budget that Ogles calls “sizable” but won’t disclose. Ogles, one of two registered lobbyists on the staff, said Americans for Prosperity-Tennessee doesn’t endorse or contribute to political campaigns. But he said it saw a political gold mine — and a national launching pad — in Republican-dominated Tennessee.
“With supermajorities in both houses,” he said, “Tennessee is a great state to pass model legislation that can be leveraged in other states.”
Umm … how about some accountability by revealing your budget and donors? No? Gee, I wonder why not.
Is Tennessee ready to be a Mid-South subsidiary of Koch Industries? It’s worked so well for Wisconsin, which has continued to bleed jobs since the Kochs installed Scott Walker in the governor’s office.