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Massive revolt at state capitol

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    THE POWER TO DESTROY Tennesseans honk for freedom Massive revolt at state capitol stops new income-tax plan By Patrick Poole © 2000 WorldNetDaily.com
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 15, 2000
      Tennesseans honk for freedom
      Massive revolt at state capitol
      stops new income-tax plan
      By Patrick Poole
      © 2000 WorldNetDaily.com

      NAHSVILLE, Tenn. -- Police cars blockaded Tennessee state capitol entrances and troopers patrolled legislative hallways this week as the state legislature found itself under siege by thousands of angry taxpayers upset at a plan to implement a state income tax.

      Tennessee is currently one of only nine states without a state income tax. Opponents of the measure, which would assess a 5 percent tax on any income above $100,000, are skeptical that legislators would maintain that high an exemption threshold for very long.

      As protestors began to gather outside the legislative chambers Monday evening, several legislators were taken away by ambulance and hospitalized for blood pressure and heart problems as tensions rose and tempers flared. By Tuesday morning, tax protestors were brandishing signs reading, "Let's send them all to the ER!"

      Trouble began brewing Friday evening as the state income tax proposal emerged from a legislative conference committee considering the state budget after local news shows had already aired.

      Legislators supporting the income tax had hoped that a vote would be taken on the proposal Saturday morning to avoid giving anti-tax groups time to mount a repeat of the tax revolt that occurred last November, when an earlier income-tax measure died as taxpayers besieged legislative offices with tens of thousands of calls and e-mails every hour.

      But the hopes of income-tax supporters were dashed when two of Nashville's competing talk radio stations, WLAC and WTN, joined forces and served as the catalyst for opposition to the legislative proposal.

      Speaking to WorldNetDaily and barely audible above the virtually non-stop horn honking, WLAC's morning show host Steve Gill gestured to the standstill traffic encircling the state capitol and said, "Do you hear that? That's the sound of freedom."

      Phil Valentine, Gill's afternoon show counterpart, chided legislators on-air for conducting most of the legislative discussion regarding the state budget behind closed doors.

      "If this is such good public policy, why are they afraid to do it in public?" Valentine said.

      While it appeared Monday that income-tax supporters had enough votes to push the measure through both houses, support crumbled as the tax protests grew.

      "These legislators have received a rude awakening in the past few days," said Darryl Ankarlo, morning drive time host for WTN. "They're realizing that taxpayers are tired of politicians picking their pockets at every turn."

      Ankarlo and his WTN colleague, Dave Ramsey began broadcasting their respective programs from a remote radio site located at the entrance of the legislative plaza, where they could wave to supporters driving by. They would regularly announce on-air the position of state legislators on the income-tax proposal and provide telephone and e-mail information for constituents to contact their representatives.

      The effort to pass a state income tax is being led by Republican Gov. Don Sundquist, who won two gubernatorial races handily in 1994 and 1998 after promising to prevent an income tax from ever being passed.


      Patrick S. Poole is a regular contributor to WorldNetDaily.

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