Ramsey Putting Political Ambitions Over Senate Duties, says Bredesen

Gov. Phil Bredesen wants Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey to concentrate more on being the Senate Speaker and less on his political campaign as they work on ways to balance the state budget.

Bredesen made the comments after a prayer breakfast Tuesday in downtown Nashville. He called on lawmakers who don’t like his budget ideas to pitch a few of their their own.

“I certainly understand if you’re running for governor, you want to take positions and do it. But at the same time, if you’re a sitting official of the state, I think he needs to engage with this issue.”

Ramsey, one of three Republican candidates for governor, has rejected the governor’s recent proposal to raise sales taxes on single purchases over $3,200. The governor says the tax hike will bring in $85 million to plug into the state’s budget.

The plan omits vehicles and manufactured homes, leaving luxury items like expensive jewelry and purchases made by businesses.

At campaign stops, including a speech at a tea party rally last week, Ramsey has said he’ll battle Bredesen’s effort to raise taxes.

Republicans plan to reveal an alternative budget plan within the next week. “Lt. Gov. Ramsey is determined to keep running Tennessee in a fiscally conservative manner and he hopes the Democratic administration will join him in doing that,” said Ramsey’s spokesman, Lance Frizzell, in a written statement.

“If not, Gov. Bredesen is always welcome to veto the budget and argue to the people of the state as to why our small businesses need to be paying more in taxes when they should be growing jobs,” he said.

Andrea Zelinski can be reached at andreazelinski@tnreport.com.