Voters reject higher taxes
"Get out of my wallet!"
That was the message Tennessee voters sent yesterday as tax proposals went down in flames, big-spending local candidates were sent packing and small-government-minded candidates carried the day.
Locally, nowhere was that message heard more clearly than in Bradley County.
With county officials hoping to slap them with a $32 wheel tax Bradley residents obliterated the tax proposal at the polls by a margin of more than three to one. And with good reason.
Unemployment is rising faster in Bradley County than in almost any county in the state. Since April, the unemployment rate has grown from 7.7 percent to nearly 9 percent today. As a result, thousands of families throughout the county are having to tighten their belts and make do with less. They expect the same from their government.
The proposed wheel tax would've taken $2.6 million a year from the pockets of taxpayers for school building projects that are more of a luxury for the county than a necessity.
It was difficult for wheel tax advocates to claim with a straight face that in a $133 million county budget, county officials couldn't find $2.6 million a year in wasteful or unnecessary spending to trim in order to fund schools. Voters saw the county's attempt to enact a new tax, rather than prioritize its spending for what it was: lazy and irresponsible.
All style, no substance
It was a bad night for people with name recognition, but no real valid policy stances.
Milk mogul Scottie Mayfield finished a distant second to incumbent U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann. Park Overall, an actress best known for her role as a sassy nurse on the early '90s sitcom "Empty Nest," finished well off the pace in her bid to become the Democrat Sen. Bob Corker will slaughter in November's general election. YouTube sensation and self-described superstar Basil Marceaux garnered less than nine percent of the vote in his effort to oust incumbent state Rep. Richard Floyd. Election night was proof that popularity isn't worth much without positions.
A star is born
While Weston Wamp garnered only 28 percent of the votes in his three-way 3rd District Republican primary battle against Fleischmann and Mayfield, Zach Wamp's kid stepped out from his dad's shadow in a big way on Thursday.
Wamp won Hamilton County, besting Fleischmann by 100 votes in a county where many onlookers expected Fleischmann to win handily.
The ability Wamp displayed in activating voters, utilizing social media and inspiring grassroots support was a page right out of the Barack Obama playbook -- a page that more Republican candidates need to study up on.
His lack of life experience and the bad feelings that many area conservatives still have for his father hurt him this time around. If Wamp continues to stay active in the Chattanooga community, he has a very bright future.