Jim Folts   Blount County Commissioner


“To stand in silence, when they should be protesting, makes cowards out of men” - Abraham Lincoln

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Special Report on our County Schools

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Next Meetings

  • Blount County Commission - Thursday September 20th, 7:00 pm, room 430, Blount County Courthouse
  • Citizens for Blount County's Future - Tuesday September 18th, 6:30pm, Blount County Library

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Feel free to let me know your views on county issues
. Just send me an email at jimfolts@gmail.com, or give me a call at 995-9476.

The Blount County Commissioners

Citizens for Better Government

Current Information

August 2012 Report

Commission Approves Largest Tax Increase in County History
The Commission approved a 22% increase in the county local option sales tax. The proceeds of the tax increase are to be split between the schools and the highway department.

As you might expect, this increase is being promoted as “for the children”. While the County schools could benefit from some increase in funding (See my Special Report on our Schools), this tax increase is an unnecessary burden on the citizens of our county.

This sales tax increase could have a significant negative impact on the businesses in our county. It will make our local option sales tax more than 37% higher than the tax in Loudon county and 22% higher than Knox and Monroe counties.

The additional money for the highway department is not needed. The new budget added all the proceeds of the cable TV franchise fees to the highway department budget. At the Commission meeting, Highway Superintendent Dunlap stated that these additional funds were adequate, and that additional funds would not be needed. I offered an amendment to the resolution to take the portion of this tax increase earmarked for the Highway department and use it to pay down the County’s huge, quarter billion dollar debt. My amendment died for lack of a second.

Commissioner French tried to put forth a creative proposal that would have given the County a larger portion of the overall sales tax receipts (currently most of the receipts go to the cities of Maryville and Alcoa). Unfortunately, the Commission voted to cut off debate before this proposal could be properly discussed. Only Commissioner French and I voted against cutting off debate.

The additional funding for the schools should be provided by cutting the budgets of the most wasteful departments in the county government. Several comparative studies have shown that Blount County spends at least twenty percent more than any other similar sized county in the state. Most of this wasteful spending is concentrated in Sheriff Berrong’s department, Circuit Court Clerk Hatcher’s department and a few of the Mayor’s departments. The needed funds for the schools can, and should, be obtained by cutting these budgets, not by putting additional tax burdens on our citizens.

The Commission is made up entirely of Republican members. Supposedly, we Republicans stand for cutting wasteful spending, reducing debt and holding the line on taxes. Yet, this Commission has done nothing to cut wasteful spending, or reduce debt. Even worse, this Commission has voted for two major tax increases. It seems that most members would rather feed the wasteful spending habits of their powerful political cronies, than worry about the tax burdens they are imposing on our hard-pressed citizens.

I was the only Commissioner to vote against this huge tax increase.

The citizens of the County will have their say on this tax increase in the November election. The sales tax increase will be on the ballot. I hope the citizens will tell the Commission they will no longer tolerate the massive wasteful spending in our County by voting NO on the tax increase.

Only YOU can change YOUR government