Did you know there’s such a thing in Tennessee as an “unconstitutionally low” tax break? I didn’t either! But according to Tennessee Republicans, there is … if it has anything to do with Tennessee’s growing solar industry, that is.
Today the House and Senate are voting on a “fix” for what the state comptroller’s office is calling an “unconstitutionally low” tax break that was passed to help lure solar manufacturing companies Hemlock Semiconductor and Wacker Chemie AG to the state. Both companies are now opening major manufacturing facilities here, bringing hundreds of jobs to a state still struggling with 8% unemployment. But the tax break that helped bring them here has Democratic cooties on it, so it must go.
Former Republican House Majority Leader and current Executive Assistant to the Comptroller Jason Mumpower explains:
He says the bill is an attempt to fix a tax break that the Attorney General has said is unconstitutionally low, and he says the proposed increase would still give green businesses a tax break.
NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked, “Two years ago the legislature passed something that was unconstitutional?
Mumpower answered, “Yes, looking back that is exactly what happened.”
The law passed in the hectic final days of the legislature in 2010.
It was part of the annual Technical Corrections Bill, which deals with changes to the tax laws.
That year, the bill had 66 provisions.
Mumpower was in the legislature at the time and says he and other lawmakers had no idea the bill cut the tax rate so low.
Wow. Mumpower wasn’t just in the legislature, he was House Majority Leader at the time. And he passed an unconstitutional tax break? What an astonishing admission! Apparently because some Bredesen Administration officials started a solar company a few months after the legislature passed this tax break — and even though that company has not benefited from the tax break — that’s still “unconstitutional” to Mumpower.
If you’re starting to smell the waft of bullshit over his story, well, read on:
But while the comptroller wants to eliminate that low tax rate for green businesses, it’s leaving the same low rate in place for other businesses.
Companies that install pollution control equipment have received the rate for years.
Many of them would not be classified as green or environmentally friendly.
They include gas producers, smelting companies and rock quarry owners.
Three guesses what might have happened if those ex-Bredesen officials had started a rock quarry instead of a solar company. And please, the whole constitutionality argument is unbelievably tortured. It pales in comparison to more obvious conflicts of interest coming out of Gov. Pilot Oil’s office (here’s one example just off the top of my head).
But putting aside the pretense given, let’s just cut to the chase: I’m sorry, but you’re Republicans and WTF? You’re going after a tax break? I thought Republicans hated taxes! Hated ’em! Taxes keep jobs away, isn’t that what you guys always say? And here we have a tax break that already brought two major manufacturing businesses to Tennessee and you want to gut it? Seriously? With unemployment the way it is?
Are you fucking kidding me, Tennessee Republicans?
If ever there were a more obvious example of Tennessee Republicans blinded by their partisanship, I’d love to see it. Even when their ideology smacks up against their partisanship, partisanship wins.
Honestly, you people have no principles at all. None.