At a February event in Smith County that featured Governor Haslam promoting his proposed gas tax increase, recently announced Sixth Congressional District candidate John Rose told the governor, “I just want to say I applaud you for making this proposal. I fully support it.”
You can hear Rose make these comments to the governor beginning at the 54:16 mark (42:05 from the end) of this video tape of the event, provided courtesy of the Smith County Insider:
Here is a partial transcript of Rose’s comments from that day:
Governor, I’m John Rose and I’m a businessman and farmer here in the community and have lived here for the last 42 years on the edge of Smith County line , De Kalb County, my farm is actually in De Kalb County. . .
As I mentioned, I’m a businessman, and my business is in Nashville so I commute back and forth from Smith County to Nashville . .
I want to just say that I applaud you for this proposal. I fully support it. I think that having users of our roads pay for our roads makes tremendous sense. You’ve laid out a very strong case for for why an increase at this time is needed. . .
I think having those funds coming from a dedicated source like a fuel tax makes good sense. . .
I do believe that the fuel tax has served us well. I think that it’s time that it be adjusted. . .
I realize that our state enjoys a surplus.
“I hope that this [gas tax increase] can be accomplished,” Rose concluded.
This is the same event at which Gov. Haslam said “the only reason government exists at all is to buy things for people that they can’t by for themselves,” as The Star reported in February (see the 16:50 mark of the video).
Rose’s enthusiastic support for the governor’s gas tax increase proposal – which at the time included an indexing component as well as a 7 cents per gallon tax increase — provides further evidence to support the criticism that he is not a limited government conservative, but instead, a big government establishment Republican.
Though he has never run for political office before, his political pedigree is clearly Tennessee Republican establishment, not limited government conservative or Tea Party.
In 2002, for instance, he accepted an appointment from then-Governor Don Sundquist to become the Tennessee Agriculture Commissioner, embracing by that move Sundquist’s political legacy.
It was Sundquist who championed the politically disastrous effort to establish a state income tax in 2000, a battle Sundquist finally gave up in 2002 when a popular uprising — culminating in the now legendary horn honking protests that surrounded the State Capitol buildings from 2000 to 2002 while the Tennessee General Assembly was considering Sundquist’s state income tax proposals — derailed the proposals.
In 2014, voters in Tennessee passed a Constitutional amendment that permanently prohibited the establishment of a state income tax in the state.
On his campaign website, Rose says he is “a farmer and small business owner who is ready to be actively involved in pushing the conservative movement that inspired so many as President Trump sought office for the first time,” as The Star reported when the former Tennessee Agriculture Commissioner announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination in the Sixth Congressional District last week.
Rose’s opponent for the Republican nomination in the Sixth Congressional District race to replace outgoing Rep. Diane Black (R-TN-06), who recently announced her candidacy for governor, is State Rep. Judd Matheny (R-Tullahoma), a staunch conservative who got his political start as a private citizen participating in those anti-income tax horn honking rallies at the State Capitol between 2000 and 2002.