Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Horn Honkin' Party

I forgot to mention this earlier, but there was a party in Nashville over the weekend that was a reunion of the folks who stopped the State income tax. Speakers included US Representative Marsha Blackburn, radio hosts Steve Gill and Phil Valentine, and more.

The Tennessean's Tim Chavez wrote a look back at the "horn honkers."
Certainly, the horn-honkers were not known for their etiquette or their adherence to Robert's Rules of Order in expressing their feelings. But they were the ones first wronged. They were lied to by their representatives who pushed a state income tax. So they didn't leave feelings unhurt or ears unassaulted.

While I did not agree back then with the protesters about the income tax, I could not fault their ire. And I could understand their frustration in watching legislative leaders like House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh use any trick possible in trying to pass the income tax. Representative government became an oxymoron. That's wrong, regardless the issue.

No matter how much some Tennesseans despised them — particularly those in the media and political establishments who didn't care for mere mortals challenging their judgment — the horn-honkers represented Tennessee at its roots. And they weren't all from Williamson County trying to avoid paying their fair share. I was out there, and I also saw blue-collar folks.
I was one of them! My buddy Phil and I went to Nashville in May of 2002. It was the first day of the vote, which Naifeh changed at the last minute. We walked around the crowd, watched the amusement of the legislative workers and talked to folks from all over. I had a blast and everyone had a real sense of making the legislators pay attention.

Read Chavez' article. He talks alot about the disdain of the government and media types for us back then. Remember, it was the newspapers who coined the term "horn honkers." It was meant to insult and demean.

And we never needed that income tax. Right now, just two years later, the State is running a $277 million (and climbing!) tax revenue surplus. We could get a cut in that exorbitant sales tax, if we just started honking again.

Think about it.

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