Former Governor Phil Bredesen said Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s tax cuts were “oversold” and have had little impact on falling unemployment rates.
Bredesen’s comments appeared in a story in The Tennessean based on an interview with the newspaper’s editorial board.
Bredesen is running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Senator Bob Corker (R-TN). His opponent is U.S. Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07).
Bredesen said the tax cut is a “perfect example of what’s wrong in Washington,” arguing it missed an opportunity to overhaul the tax code, which he said is full of loopholes. The former governor said much of the tax cut funds have gone into stock buybacks.
Bredesen said he was “100 percent for tax reform.” While the debate began as reform, Congress last December failed.
“Instead it was, well, let’s just do the tax cut because that’s easy and everybody’s happy.”
The Tennessee Republican Party has called out Bredesen for what it says are “phony” claims to have balanced the state budget when he served as governor 2003-2011, as the Tennessee Star reported this week. The state constitution requires the budget to be balanced, they said.
The GOP pointed out how Bredesen fails to say that as governor he raised taxes and fees by nearly $1 billion, citing a 2010 story by the Times Free Press, and “raided hundreds of millions of dollars from the state’s highway fund so that he could pay for his own budgetary priorities.”
How does Bredesen spend tax funds when he has them?
Eight years ago as governor, Bredesen decided to hand out taxpayers’ money to people who bought electric vehicles to the tune of $2.5 million, The Star reported this week. The problem is that the incentives were only for the Nissan Electric Leaf, which are manufactured in Smyrna. At the time, a Franklin-based businessman who sold electric cars complained he got shortchanged. That businessman, Josh Womack, said Bredesen, in this instance, picked winners and losers.
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.