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Republican leaders balk at tax increases to save state employee jobs

Andy Sher • Feb 3, 2010 at 12:00 AM

NASHVILLE -- Gov. Phil Bredesen's proposal to raise $21.3 million by increasing sales taxes on cable television bills and subjecting cable boxes to use taxes is getting static from Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey and other GOP legislative leaders.

"I don't think that ends up passing the General Assembly," Sen. Ramsey, R-Blountville, said. House Majority Leader Jason Mumpower, R-Bristol, said he is concerned about the proposed tax increases and would look for ways to eliminate them.

The proposal is part of $71.7 million in tax and fee increases Gov. Bredesen, a Democrat, says are needed to avoid cutting an additional 341 state employees in the $28.41 billion 2010-2011 budget he outlined on Monday.

One administration plan, which includes the cable sales tax increase, raises $49.8 million to prevent what administration officials say otherwise would be 200 layoffs involving assistant prosecutors, witness coordinators, public defenders, probation officers and foresters.

Read the full report at the Chattanooga Times Free-Press Web site.

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