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Massey fills vacated Woodson seat

One irony of Republican Becky Duncan Massey’s platform en route to being elected state Senator, District 6, has been saying no to a pair of tax-cutting proposals from her Democratic challenger.

Gloria Johnson, who lost to Massey with roughly 32 percent of the vote during the Tuesday, Nov. 8, specially called election, advocated tax breaks for small businesses and elimination of Sales Tax on groceries.

Though a staunch advocate of low taxes who is against a state Income Tax, Massey said, “I don’t think that, at least in this next year, we’re going to be in any position to cut anything that will cut revenue to the state. I’m being very realistic, it’s not going to pass.”

As for eliminating Sales Tax from groceries, “I’d love to do it, but I’m a bottom line person, and I know we have to balance our budget,” Massey said.

Meanwhile, “I still think the No. 1 way to help existing businesses is with regulatory relief,” Massey said. “I mean, I’d love to give all kinds of tax breaks, but we’re facing some tough economic times in Tennessee.

“We have to be responsible. ... I know there are definitely times and there’s days that will show that a certain tax break will give us a bigger return. I will support those initiatives.”

Though in favor of teacher evaluations, Massey said the four-per-school-year evaluations could be excessive, draining precious teaching and administrating time away from principals and teachers.

“It’s almost too much; on the surface, that’s what it appears,” she said. “I think we’ve got to tweak the system. The evaluations right now [are] set up the same for librarians as it is for the classrooms. I don’t think that’s the best way.”

Before January’s 108th General Assembly convenes, “I’m going to meet with several small groups of teachers, and just talk to them about their concerns,” Massey said.

“There’s a lot of frustrations among a lot of the teachers right now. ... Almost without exception, every teacher I’ve talked to is frustrated by it.”

Massey said she agrees with Johnson’s campaign declaration against taking tax dollars to fund private school vouchers.

“At this point in time I’d say I wouldn’t support [vouchers],” Massey said. “I personally feel like it is the state’s responsibility to make sure our public education is as good as it can be.”


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