Ron Hart: The Case for Tennessee


Columnist Ron Hart makes the case for why Tennessee is a pretty good place to live:

Tennessee is called the Volunteer State because it can't make people live there. Politicians know that, so they make the state desirable. Tennessee has zero income tax and is run with relative efficiency. Its citizens have a rugged independence that is appealing. Politicians once tried to institute a state income tax and angry mobs descended on the capital. Just the right amount of fear keeps elected officials at bay. If Gov. Bill Haslem gets rid of the Hall Tax on interest and dividend income, Tennessee will really do well.

One Tennessee town knowingly elected a dead man as mayor. The people sent a message: They wanted an elected official who would not steal from them or cheat on his spouse….

The spur of the column is a land dispute between Georgia and Tennessee based on a centuries-old surveying line:

Thirty-thousand Tennesseans live in the area that Georgia wants to take in this retroactive land grab. Those residents get to go from paying no state income tax to paying 6 percent in Georgia. And for what? Maybe Georgia could spend the money on a better surveyor.

Read the whole thing.

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  1. Why would someone paint a picture of a raccoon washing its bra in a stream?

    1. That’s the Tennesse state hat. The raccoon, not the bra.

      1. The bra too, when there’s booze.

    2. Needs Moar Labelz.

    3. Who knows but it’s a very stimulating image.

  2. The spur of the column is a land dispute between Georgia and Tennessee based on a centuries-old surveying line

    I believe one of our commenters mentioned this little water dispute a few weeks back.

    1. I thought that was an April fools joke. Is Georgia actually trying to steal a piece of Tennessee?

      1. We demand a warm water port on the Tennessee River.Supposedly those inbred hillbillies moved our survey marker denying our rights to the water.

        1. Good lord. When North Georgians are calling you inbred hillbillies you may have an issue.

          1. About 30 years apart, me and my Father both had run-ins with cops in the same small North Georgia town, one near the GA-NC border (which is my favorite border, as most people dont realize they touch).

            I try not to get off I-75 anymore.

            1. Which town? Dillard? Clayton? Blairsville?


    1. You planning a time trip?

  4. TN has a horribly high beer tax rate.

    1. But the charms of downtown Chattanooga more than make up for that.

      1. I dont know if you are being sarcastic or not, but I like downtown Chattanooga.

        But, no, no it doesnt make up for it.

        1. I was being sarcastic. I’m glad to hear they fixed it up. The last time I was there it looked like it had been bombed from the air for a solid week.

          But that was decades ago.

          1. There are parts that have been gentrified and hipstered.

            Which is okay to visit.

            1. So the rest of it is OK?

              1. The rest is weird hills and a horrible interstate system.

          2. They removed all the dead industry, sold it for scrap and bought a shiny new aquarium. Now every shit hole city thinks an aquarium is their ticket to relevance and prosperity.

            1. Worked for Newport, KY too.

              Although I think the Hofbrauhaus is the bigger draw.

              1. Or not having to actually be in downtown Cincinnati.

              2. Although I think the Hofbrauhaus is the bigger draw.

                Me too. I’ve never been to the aquarium, but the Hofbrauhaus is my jam.

                And the video arcade that serves liquor across the street is fun too.

                1. Ive only been to two aquariums: Newport and Seattle.

                  Seattle had otters, Newport had penguins.

                  Im not sure I have a point there, other than Im not sure I really get aquariums.

                  1. Fish neat to look at. There’s your draw.

                  2. Galveston has both otters and penguins (and a rainforest pyramid) at Moody gardens. And seriously, for $50, you can go inside the penguin enclosure, which smells like a cat hoarder’s house, and touch a penguin. I seriously believe this caused the gf to ovulate through her birth control and gave rise to the half-libertarian bastard parasite currently living inside of her.

                    1. Are you going to legitimize him? Or is he gonna get a bastard surname?

                    2. Gf refuses to get married while pregnant. But yes, the bastard title is only in jest, as the child will be acknowledged as mine.

              3. Probably want to stay away from Newport, TN though. Unless you are looking for hot car parts, or National Park raised weed.

          3. Oh, no, it’s totally changed. It’s actually quite nice, and I like the area around it, too, like Lookout Mountain.

    2. Have you ever bought a growler of beer there?

      They have this weird new law. After you buy it, you have to exit through the back door of the brewery. I have no idea what that is all about.

      1. Lol, no.

        I did stop at a great liquor store in Nashville once. The store has a wall down the middle and two doors. One door for the beer store, one door for the wine and liquor store. Separate checkouts.

        Okay, that is bad enough, and not unique to TN. However, high ABV beers had to be on the liquor side of the wall. So, to buy the beer I stopped to get, I had to shop both stores.

        Fucking idiocy.

        Also, I almost got carjacked leaving the neighborhood. The store is not located in the primest of locations.

        1. Nashville is beautiful. I used to go there often, for work.

          But it’s not the area of TN I would choose to live in. I like the east. Maybe Knoxville, or Chattanooga.

          1. Knoxville is the only city in America that is worse than Louisville for allergy sufferers.

            1. I don’t have allergy issues, outside of food, so I’m ok with that.

          2. Murfreesboro seemed pretty nice when I drove through a couple years ago, and a buddy of mine lives in Knoxville and loves it there.

            Unfortunately, Tennessee is probably going to end up being a southern version of Colorado–a pretty decent, habitable state that gets flooded with progtards escaping their New England/Upper Midwest hellholes and gets turned into a hipster version of the place these people left.

    3. *crosses Tennessee off list of potential decent places to live*

      1. TN is $4.29 per barrel excise tax and a 17% wholesaler tax.

        KY is $2.50 per barrel excise tax and a 9% wholesaler tax.

  5. I love TN, wife and I are strongly considering retirement there. Looking into SC also. I’m not actually sure that I will make it to retirement before I have to plot my escape from the Peoples Republic of Murland. Maybe semi-retirement is in order.

  6. I don’t like Country music. Can I live there and not kill myself?

      1. But if I decide to move there, from that point on, anyone else who moves there, has to send me an application showing their libertarian credentials.

        1. My wife and I are looking at moving there in 5 years. I might have a job oppurtunity near Nashville (Franklin) but we would prefer Eastern Tennessee near the Smokies. Knoxville/Maryville. Might check out Chattnooga. Haven’t been there. Well might have as a kid but certainly don’t remember anything specific if so.

          1. The hottest woman I have ever met in my life was from eastern TN. No further east, keep going.

            She was from the part that is an insert in a box on maps.

          2. If we choose TN, you might be arriving around the same time as us. We have a 5 year plan, which includes not living in MD at the end of that 5.

            By that time, I could go into semi-retirement, so the job issue won’t be a deal breaker. Both of us could maybe work part time, or start a small biz.

            We are looking at eastern TN also. Knoxville or Chat, best choices I think.

            I also have SC in mind, maybe Greenville, but we need to do some serious vacationing there first, because I haven’t spent much time there.

          3. Chattanooga is a very nice place to live. Not just little gentrified pockets either.

          4. I wouldn’t recommend Maryville…just trust me on that. Chattanooga is growing, but it’s sort of an industrial town, and has a dirty feeling about it, although if you live on one of the surrounding mountains you’ll have some beautiful views.

            Google Farragut (West Knoxville). That’s where you want to be.

            1. Yeah, I was looking at Farragut. Looked like a nice area. We defintley need to spend some time there before moving, especially my wife. Although she is country music fan.

              1. Farragut is also right next to the best pizza in the area – Little Joe’s.

                Second best is clean over in Oak Ridge, at Big Ed’s.

            2. A Farragut councilman is proposing a gun ownership requirement, that is non-binding. Yes, figure that one out.

              Plus side, only one set of local cops: the Sheriff’s department. No town police.

              They operate completely off of sales tax rebates from State tax collected within its borders. Another downside, they ran Walmart down the pike shortly after incorporating.

              I grew up in the largest subdivision that was there in the 1970s. As usual, the roads inside the subdivision are better than the government roads leading to it.

  7. I love it here; live south of Nashville in Brentwood. Except for not being able to buy beer b4 noon on Sunday, it feels relatively free. Ranked number 3 overall in that Mercatus study, Freedom in the 50 States.

    1. Transplanted to Knoxville from Northern Virginia here about 6 years ago. A little culture shock at first, they are kinda hillbilly. But East Tennessee is worse than the rest of the state in that. After I got used to that though, I absolutely love it. I agree with the “free feeling” you mentioned; I had noticed that myself. Hard to describe, because you don’t realize how the bureaucracy puts a stranglehold on you when you’re in the midst of it. Virginia was like living in Nazi Germany compared to this.

      1. I left NoVa for Texas close to 20 years ago. Same kind of feeling.

      2. NoVa is different from most of the rest of the state. Also, avoid Charlottesville. Anyplace rural is probably more like TN, especially Appalachia.

      3. Similar experience back and forth between NoVA and ETn for 20 years. Lots of people around with same deal.

    2. Louisville city council is currently discussing moving the Sunday beer license for restaurants from a 1 PM start to 10 AM, so they can serve at Sunday Brunch.

  8. Somehow I doubt an armed terrorist going door to door in Tennessee would get very far.

  9. “Tennessee is called the Volunteer State because it can’t make people live there. Politicians know that, so they make the state desirable. Tennessee has zero income tax and is run with relative efficiency.”

    You can’t make people live in Noo Yawk either, but people do. Even Bloomberg can’t drive ’em away.

    1. Check the census data, the State is emptying out.

      1. Not NYC. But upstate is a basket case – that’s where I’m from and I couldn’t wait to get out either.

        1. Most of my family is from the Canandaigua/Rochester area. I rarely see people in their early 30s when I visit. Some kids, lots of older families, but not a ton of people in my age bracket.

          1. I’m from Rochester. My family is all still there. The suburbs are fine but I’m a city boy and since the city is basically a mini-Detroit now, I left.

    2. He mentioned the income tax protests as singular. That has happened several times, every time that stupid idea makes it out of a stupid committee for a vote.

  10. Salon recently published this sick-making, incoherent hit-piece on TNTennessee: Ayn Rand’s Vision of Paradise. And the accompanying illo is, inexplicably, of a Confederate cemetery in Virginia (from the comments). Do not venture into the comments, Lovecraftian levels of madness there.

    1. So what you are basically saying, is that any amount of freedom at all, is disturbing to Salon and it’s readers?

      No surprise there.

  11. Actually, Tennesee does have a state income tax – just not one on wage income.

    It has a 6% tax on investment income from dividends and interest earned above a $2,500 exclusion amount.

    1. That one is on the verge of extinction, unless the FBI drags the governor in on that Pilot Oil rebate ripoff investigation.

      1. I certainly hope it’s on the verge of extinction.

        I get whacked by it every year.

        I have yet to figure out exactly what “extra” service that investors are receiving from the state vs wage earners to warrant them being charged a tax on their earnings.

    2. I think most “no income tax” states have that. And business income taxes too.

      1. We used to have an inventory tax, not sure if it is still in effect. Went something like if you received stock it was taxed until it moved. Never did get a good handle on the details. Ex-father-in-law had to deal with it in his furniture store.

  12. Free State Tennessee?

  13. My family is from various parts of the state, so I’ve spent a lot of time there. I like it.

  14. All this talk of beer and liquor and no discussion about the redneck drinking games mentioned in the ‘Why Tennessee is awesome’ article.

    Once two guys got in a bar argument over who was the better shot. One said, “Bet I can shoot a beer can off your head.” The other said, “Can not.” So they went to the parking lot to try and one guy killed the other. Tennessee officials did not waste taxpayer money trying the survivor for manslaughter. He was allowed to plead to the lesser charge of being a redneck, which carries a $50 fine, the same as murder.

    Given the circumstances, $50 fine for being a redneck probably would be the best use of the state’s time/money.

    That said, he was actually charged with murder

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