State Democratic leaders called Monday for a last-minute push to pass jobs legislation. but they admitted they need Republican votes to do it.
State Democratic lawmakers are torn between grousing about Republicans and holding out a bipartisan hand to them.
Senate Democratic Leader Jim Kyle complained that the majority party has turned thumbs down on his bill to encourage companies to relocate in counties with high unemployment rates.
But House Leader Craig Fitzhugh noted that the Democratic minority has no chance of getting jobs bills passed by themselves.
Fitzhugh indirectly quoted House Republican Leader Gerald McCormick, who represents the Chattanooga area.
“And his district is the recipient of two of the largest economic development projects this state seen in Volkswagen and Amazon. Yet he and they have the audacity to say that government shouldn’t help create jobs.”
Fitzhugh’s point is that both Volkswagen and Amazon were enticed by in-depth government recruitment.
Representative Fitzhugh sponsors a bill that would let small businesses take advantage of the same kind of sales tax holiday that consumers enjoy on a back-to-school weekend in August.
Democrats at the Monday news conference renewed their criticism that Republicans had campaigned on the promise of working on jobs, and then backed off on starting any new state government programs to do so.
Kyle’s bill, the relocate-to-low-employment counties, is SB 1866 Kyle/HB 2077 Fitzhugh.
“It costs some money…but over 200 ..businesses would hire people for jobs. That bill, in the Republican-controlled Finance Ways & Means Tax Subcommittee, got a negative recommendation.”
Democrats passed out a list of 10 jobs bills their caucus members sponsor.
But only two have gotten action in both houses:
-SB 592 Finney/HB 313 Fitzhugh, Tennessee small business sales tax holiday.
-SB 1385 Finney/HB 1676 McDonald, Requiring department of economic and community development to award a community block grant to the Tennessee contractor with the lowest bid … (in most circumstances).
Later in the day, House Republican Leader Gerald McCormick deflected the Democrats’ criticism, pointing to the governor’s tort reform proposal as the GOP’s jobs bill.
“It’s not all about passing bills, and having government jobs, certainly. I think it’s more about making sure we have a good environment, where these companies want to come in.”
McCormick also responded to the mentioning of companies lured to his district with government initiatives.
“First of all I’d like to thank members of the legislature in the last few years, from all over the state, who helped us in Chattanooga with some economic development projects, including Leader Fitzhugh. He was supportive of that, and I plan to be… just as supportive of their West Tennessee megasite.”
The Democrat’s version of how to create jobs:
Democrats Renew Call for Jobs Legislation