Tennessee's rank in economic growth spurs competing claims

Tennessee's rank in economic growth spurs competing claims

June 14th, 2011 by Andy Sher in Local - Breaking News

NASHVILLE - Tennessee ranked No. 6 among states last year in terms of inflation-adjusted growth in goods and services produced, according to figures recently released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

But now the 3.5 percent growth for Tennessee appears to be creating a new growth industry all its own in the Volunteer State as Republicans and Democrats tried to nab credit.

"This ranking highlights what many of us already know: Tennessee is open for business," Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell of Nashville, said in a news release issued by the House GOP Caucus. "We have a dynamic, pro-business environment that is attracting the attention of more and more top companies with each passing day."

House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, said the figures "reveal the fact our state is making a move to the top in economic growth and the success of the 2011 legislative session will go a long way towards ensuring we get there."

But House Democratic Majority Leader Mike Turner of Nashville said Republicans only took firm control of the House earlier this year. He credited the growth numbers to policies of legislative Democrats and former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen, who left office in early January.

"They haven't been there long enough to damage the economy or help the economy," Turner said of Republicans. "This was a result of the pro-business jobs creation under the Democrats and the Bredesen administration."

He said sarcastically that he is "glad Republicans are trying to take credit for something they didn't do. I really don't know what they did to create jobs."

For complete details, see tomorrow's Times Free Press.