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Haslam Announces 5th State Veterans Cemetery in Parkers Crossroads

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs; July 24, 2014:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder today announced the future site of the fifth state veterans cemetery will be in Parkers Crossroads.

The 132-acre Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery at Parkers Crossroads will be located at 693 Wildersville Road and will serve more than 45,000 veterans and their families within 17 counties in west Tennessee.

The Tennessee counties within a 75 mile radius of the proposed cemetery include Benton, Carroll, Chester, Crockett, Decatur, Gibson, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Henry, Lewis, McNairy, Madison, Perry, Wayne, and Weakley counties.

“Right now veterans and their families in this part of the state have to drive more than two hours to the nearest state veterans cemetery,” Haslam said. “We want veterans in the more rural parts of the state to have access to these resources that also serve as a symbol of our gratitude for their service to our country.”

Haslam was also joined by state Rep. Steve McDaniel (R-Parkers Crossroads), state Sen. Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville), Parkers Crossroads Mayor Kenneth Kizer, Henderson County Mayor Dan Hughes and West Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery Steering Committee Chair Chris Dangler.

“We are grateful to the members of the West Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery Steering Committee, the mayors of the seven counties who invested local funding and support as well as the Governor, Rep. McDaniel and Sen. Gresham who have supported this effort from the beginning,” Grinder said. “We still have several funding hurdles to jump through before this project becomes a reality, but we are excited to announce we are one step closer to opening the fifth state veterans cemetery to better serve veterans in southwest Tennessee.”

“The rich history of Parkers Crossroads is a perfect location for a future State Veterans Cemetery,” McDaniel said. “We have anxiously waited to hear this news and we welcome the opportunity to offer a reverent backdrop to this future field of honor.”

“Veterans are buried at no charge in these pristine cemeteries that offer a place of reflection and reverence,” Gresham said. “We look forward to adding another jewel to the existing four state veterans cemeteries.”

There are currently two state veterans cemeteries in Knoxville, one in Nashville and one in Memphis. Veterans and eligible dependents can pre-register for burial by visiting the State Veterans Cemetery page http://tn.gov/veteran/burial_elg.shtml.

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Travel Tech: TN Tourism, Travel Threatened by New Tax on Travel Services

Press release from The Travel Technology Association; March 8, 2013:

NASHVILLE, TN, March 8, 2013—In a potential blow to Tennessee travel and tourism, state Senator Doug Overbey and state Representatives Art Swann and Steve McDaniel have sponsored legislation that would impose a new tax on travelers who use the services of online travel companies and brick and mortar travel agents.

The legislation would apply state sales taxes and county and local hotel occupancy taxes to the service fees of traditional and online travel agents that facilitate reservations for Tennessee hotel room transactions. The move would raise prices for consumers and jeopardize Tennessee hotels’ ability to provide competitive travel deals.

The new service tax bills, Senate Bill 212 and House Bill 678, directly contradict decisions made in dozens of states and courts nationwide—including a 2012 decision by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee—which in recent years have soundly rejected similar travel service taxes as being inapplicable as OTCs do not operate hotels.

State legislatures across the nation—such as those in Virginia, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, Utah, Oregon, Missouri, Connecticut, and Massachusetts—have examined adding new travel taxes in recent years, and have overwhelmingly recognized that application of these unconstitutional taxes immediately makes a state less competitive for travel and tourism.

While aimed at out-of-state visitors, this new tax would equally impact Tennessee residents looking to book their in-state travel through online and traditional travel agents.

“Tennessee officials have been conned by special interest groups into thinking it is good public policy to trade a short-term cash grab for long-term economic stability. Passage of S.B. 212 and H.B. 678 will make Tennessee less competitive for tourism dollars. The sponsors might as well title this bills, ‘The Kentucky Tourism Stimulus Act,’” said Simon Gros, Chairman of Travel Tech: the Travel Technology Association.

About Travel Tech

The Travel Technology Association, or Travel Tech, is the association for online travel companies (OTCs) and global distribution systems (GDSs), and is dedicated to connecting consumers and travel providers, eliminating barriers to travel and protecting consumers. Travel Tech’s members include: Amadeus, Expedia, Orbitz Worldwide, Priceline, Travelocity, Travelport and Vegas.com.

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Haslam Announces $279K for ‘Sidewalk Improvement Project’ Around Chester Co. Courthouse

Press Release from the State of Tennessee: July 27, 2011:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam joined state and local leaders today to announce the award of a $278,847 transportation enhancement grant to Chester County for the Sidewalk Improvement Project.

The Sidewalk Improvement Project will construct and reconstruct the sidewalks, curbs, ramps, and retaining wall on all sides of the Chester County Courthouse, located in Henderson, Tenn. The project also includes installation and adjustment to storm drainage, and new pedestrian lighting. The overall enhancement will be a huge benefit to pedestrians and will significantly improve access to the courthouse.

“Courthouses are historic pieces of Tennessee’s landscape and serve as a central point for government services in many communities,” Haslam said. “I’m pleased the state could assist in this important effort to preserve and enhance the Chester County Courthouse.”

The grant is made possible through a federally funded program administered by the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT).

“Through Transportation Enhancement grants, TDOT has funded more than $259 million in non-traditional transportation projects,” TDOT Commissioner John Schroer said. “Established by Congress in the early 1990s, the program supports activities designed to strengthen the cultural, aesthetic and environmental aspects of the nation’s transportation system.”

A variety of activities such as the restoration of historic facilities, bike and pedestrian trails, landscaping and other non-traditional transportation projects are eligible for grant funds under the federal program.

State Sen. Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville) and state Rep. Steve McDaniel (R-Parkers Crossroads) represent Chester County in the Tennessee General Assembly.