Legislative luncheon hosted by Chamber of Commerce
Posted By Sparta Live | April 18, 2002 12:00 am
Kim Swindell Wood
The budgetary problems for the State of Tennessee are still a hotly debated item at political gatherings, and White Countians had the opportunity to directly question legislators during a luncheon held on Friday.
The Sparta-White County Chamber of Commerce sponsored a legislative luncheon at White County Community Hospital, with State Senator Charlotte Burks and State Representative Charles Curtiss answering questions posed by those in attendance.
Curtiss reviewed items he felt were top priority in the budget crisis. “When we left this session, we were 256 million in the red,” he said.
Curtiss referred to the controversial use of tobacco settlement monies used to help with the budget crisis. “You have just set yourself up for a fall,” he said. “This was just a one-time expenditure.”
Burks said one example of uncertainty with Tennessee’s budget was seen when Putnam County did not rehire several teachers. “They don’t know what their funding will be from the state,” she said.
Burks stated she had never supported a state income tax, but said it depended on what happens as to her future stance on the subject. “I don’t think I would vote for one unless it had a cap,” she said. “I have always been against it, but I can’t close the door.”
White County Community Hospital Administrator Mark Cain asked Curtiss what he would like to see happen with the budget. “There are a few sales tax exemptions,” he said. “We need to look long and hard if it means cutting people and education. I feel resentment for them [legislators] holding our children and senior citizens hostage.”
Chamber of Commerce President Wallace Austin thanked Burks and Curtiss for attending the luncheon and expressed a desire to have future meetings with legislators.