Knoxville Mayor Says Decisions Must Be Based on How Jobs Are Generated
Knoxville Mayor and Republican gubernatorial nominee Bill Haslam toured this morning the site of State Route 126 in Kingsport with State Rep. Tony Shipley and Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey, taking the opportunity to emphasize that if elected his first priority would be making Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for jobs.
The high quality of Tennessee's roadways is a recruitment tool often used when discussing business relocation, and it will be important for the next governor -- despite being mired in difficult economic times -- to keep Tennessee roads and bridges appropriately maintained.
Tennessee roads are often recognized for their high quality. Earlier this year, a survey of truck owners and operators by Overdrive Magazine, named for the fourth year in a row the 455-mile stretch of Interstate 40 through Tennessee the best road in the entire U.S. The Reason Foundation, a public policy research firm, has consistently put Tennessee's entire roadway and bridge system in the Top 20 among all states.
In his extensive experience in job recruitment in the private and public sectors, the quality of Tennessee's roads are often a contributing factor to businesses coming to Tennessee, Haslam said.
"It's very important that the next governor understand the importance of infrastructure and the challenges facing the state," said Haslam, during a press availability at the historic Yancey's Tavern in Kingsport with Shipley, Ramsey, State Reps. Jason Mumpower and John Lundberg. "What I'll do, if I'm elected governor, is prioritize infrastructure projects based on their safety needs and what the project can do to develop jobs."
"Every decision is driven by how we can make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for jobs," he said.
Later, Haslam added that the first task of the next governor is to determine whether the state is being as effective as possible with taxpayer dollars. "If elected, I'm committed to conducting a top-to-bottom review of state government to determine the areas where Tennessee can be more efficient and bring taxpayers a greater return on investment," Haslam said. "We'll need to examine each road and bridge project on how necessary it is for public safety and how it will help job growth in that area," Haslam said.
"We're not going to raise taxes. We won't have an income tax -- I'm 100 percent against one -- and we're not going to raise the sales tax because it's already the highest cumulative sales tax in the nation," Haslam said. "Our only alternatives are to be more cost-effective and efficient in the services the state delivers and to grow our way out by recruiting businesses here and make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for jobs."