Opinion: Clint’s Clips: Tennessee’s economic rankings make for an envious State of the State

Associated Press Photo By George Walker IV / Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee delivers his State of the State address in the House chamber on Monday in Nashville.
Associated Press Photo By George Walker IV / Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee delivers his State of the State address in the House chamber on Monday in Nashville.

Something to talk about

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, as all governors are be wont to do in their State of the State addresses, cited a number of positive rankings for Tennessee in his address earlier this week.

Even if you say they don't tell the whole story — and they don't — they're pretty remarkable.

Lee noted that the state has the nation's fastest growing economy, is ranked first in fiscal responsibility, has the country's lowest overall debt and is the second lowest in taxes per capita.

He also mentioned that six states in the Southeast, including Tennessee, contributed more to the nation's gross domestic product than the entire Northeast, which includes New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. It's a pretty remarkable feat when you consider the interminable Northeast-centric focus by the national media.

Going the wrong way

Tennessee moved up two spots to fifth in WalletHub's annual survey of the most sinful states for 2024, which was released this week.

Among the survey's metrics, it listed the Volunteer State as second for excesses and vices, third for anger and hatred, fifth for lust, 11th for both greed and laziness, 15th for jealousy and 29th for vanity.

Nevada — who didn't see that one coming?— topped the list among the 50 states as the most sinful, followed by Louisiana, California and Florida.

The state with the most anger and hate is Arkansas, worst for jealousy is Georgia, tops in excesses and vices is Louisiana, greediest is Nevada, most lustful is Texas, most vain is New York and laziest is West Virginia.

Flipping the script

As long as there are cars and roads and rules to regulate the cars on the roads, there will be people inventing devices to get around those regulations.

State Rep. Greg Martin, R-Hixson, has introduced a bill (HB-2145) that would criminalize one of those devices. He'll introduce it to the Transportation Subcommittee next week.

The bill's wording refers to it as a "license plate flipper," which it says is "a manual electronic, or mechanical device designed or adapted to be installed on a motor vehicle that either 1) alternates between two or more license plates for the purpose of allowing a motor vehicle operator to change the license plate displayed on the operator's vehicle; or 2) hides a license plate from view by flipping the plate, making the license plate not visible.

The bill, should it pass, would criminalize the possession or the selling of such devices.

Martin said the idea for the measure came to him through conversations with a local judge and law enforcement members.

Following Tennessee's lead

Georgia is hoping to do the same thing Tennessee did last year when it became the first state in the country to tie state economic incentives to private union ballot protections.

Sen. Mike Hodges, R-Brunswick, is offering the measure that requires a secret ballot election for union representation if a company receives state subsidies. It also would protect Georgia taxpayers from companies that refuse to protect their employees from types of union intimidation in their workplaces.

"[E]ven with right-to-work protections in place," said former United Auto Workers (UAW) member and current Ford employee Terry Bowman, "employees still face union intimidation when it comes to how workers decide whether they want to unionize. Union organizing campaigns can be stressful on a worker ... . I know first-hand workers who are afraid of pushing back. There is a fear factor, a tense apprehension about saying anything against union executives or deviating from what they tell you to do."

Locally, the Tennessee law should mean that no matter how many Volkswagen workers the UAW claims have signed union cards, when and if there is another union election, workers will be able to vote their true feelings in a private election.

Super Bowl favorite?

If you thought we'd be picking the San Francisco 49ers or the Kansas City Chiefs, you'd be wrong. Tennessee's favorite Super Bowl food — at least the most searched for — is chili. The monthly search volume of 82,764 in the Volunteer State puts chili slightly ahead of the 82,393 searches for pizza, which is the nation's top Super Bowl food.

Tennessee was one of only three states (along with Arkansas and Louisiana) to have chili at the top of its list and one of only seven that didn't have pizza at the top. Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and West Virginia also did not.

The survey, according to JeffBet, analyzed 75 popular Super Bowl foods, using more than 4,000 search combinations.

Chicken wings, which would have been our guess for the top spot, were only seventh in the country.

Following pizza in the national list were chili, deviled eggs, Buffalo chicken dip and guacamole.

Let the game, er, the eating begin.

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