By Steve Hunley

Kincannon Proposes, Council Approves 21% Tax Increase

Nobody who reads The Knoxville Focus can possibly be surprised the City of Knoxville will see the biggest increase in its property tax in history. Mayor Indya Kincannon proposed a 50-cent (21%) property tax increase, which, to the surprise of exactly no one, was immediately rubber-stamped by the Knoxville City Council. Only two members of the city council voted against the budget proposed by Kincannon and the tax increase. Interestingly, both council members were women and from opposite ends of the political spectrum, yet both cited the current economic state as the reason a tax increase was inappropriate at the time. Janet Testerman said the current inflation and rising cost of energy made a property tax increase especially hard for working families. Testerman is a Republican while Councilwoman Amelia Parker is a self-described Democratic Socialist. Parker likewise thought an increase in the property tax is simply going to make things more difficult for working people. The increased property tax will cause rents to rise along with mortgage payments as a result.


Cameron Brooks Announces 2023 City Council Run

Councilwoman Lynne Fugate, who only narrowly won her seat by a handful of votes three years ago, raised some eyebrows by voting for Kincannon’s budget and the tax increase. Nominally a Republican, Fugate apparently indicated she would vote against the budget and tax increase and promptly changed her mind. Fugate has already drawn a challenger in next year’s city election in Cameron Brooks, local realtor and a former chairman of the Knox County Democratic Party. Brooks, whose political roots were planted in the labor movement, has a strong populist bent and is a firm advocate for working people and families. Cameron Brooks has said he agreed with the need to focus on recruiting and hiring for the Knoxville Police Department as a priority and believes higher salaries are a prime ingredient for boosting recruitment. Yet Brooks was critical of a blanket raise for all city employees rather than raising those workers who earn $50,000 annually or less. In contrast, Fugate was one of the members of the city council who argued those earning well over $100,000 annually needed a raise.

Brooks was also one of the very rare Democrats locally who expressed concern when Kincannon abruptly withdrew KPD officers from city schools. Fugate, a Sequoyah Hills Republican and former member of the Knox County Board of Education (as is Kincannon), never made a peep of protest about the withdrawal. Brooks also lives near downtown in East Knoxville in a largely Black neighborhood and his campaign treasurer is Reverend Harold Middlebrook, an iconic figure in the Black community.

Brooks is already raising money and should be a serious challenger to Fugate who may become the first political casualty of the Kincannon tax grab.

Larsen Jay Speaks Up for Property Owners

Another interesting sidelight of the City of Knoxville budget tussle was the surprise appearance of County Commissioner at-Large Larsen Jay who spoke in opposition to the property tax grab. The toothsome Kincannon’s fixed smile quickly faded into something more resembling a death rictus as Jay began speaking. Jay rapidly pointed out several of the numerous deficiencies in Kincannon’s budget, noting Indya had never even considered the possibility of trying to save taxpayers money by trimming a single expenditure. Indya huffed and puffed there wasn’t a single piece of “fluff” in her budget when the reality is there’s more fluff in her budget than there is cotton candy at a carnival.

Larsen Jay is seen as the leading candidate to contest Kincannon’s expected reelection effort next year. Jay is articulate, smart, and will be very well funded and able to compete. Jay’s publicly taking issue with Kincannon’s budget was seen by many as the opening salvo in the 2023 mayor’s race inside the City of Knoxville.


Democrats Need a Reality Check

It seems as if with each passing week, the Democrat candidate for Knox County mayor talks about everything but what concerns working people. Debbie Helsley’s campaign is now bragging she marched with others in a pro-abortion rally. Helsley’s campaign blasted out a press release heralding her stand on behalf of abortion along with a picture of her with State Representative Gloria Johnson while holding a sign which read, “Abortion is Health Care.” Not really. It’s certainly not very healthy for the baby.

Helsley’s messaging is not her own, but rather that of Jack Vaughn, a 22-year-old running for the Democrat State Executive Committee. Apparently, Vaughn thinks Helsley is running for mayor of San Francisco. Helsley had a front row seat to applaud city Mayor Indya Kincannon’s announcement she was raising property taxes on working families; Helsley has issued a clarion call citing the urgency of climate change; and now, marches on behalf of abortion.

It’s no surprise to anyone the Democrats in Knox County would nominate someone for office who sides with the pro-aborts of their party. Democrats nationally have systematically driven pro-life folks out of their party. The self-described party of compassion is as intolerant of those who do not follow the progressive doctrine as any tyrant.

The quality of the candidates running for office as Democrats in the August general election cannot even be fairly described as “subpar.” They are a motley collection of Leftists who seem to have confused Knox County with the City of Knoxville.

The messaging of the Democrat ticket is well to the Left of the average voter in Knox County. So far, I have yet to hear a single candidate from the Democrat side talk about any issue that has anything to do with the everyday lives of the people of Knox County. The truth is they really can’t because they can’t acknowledge the truth that their Democrat president and the Democrat Congress have about run this country into the ground in record time.

Joe Biden has repeatedly demonstrated he is the most incompetent president of our lifetimes. The cost of gas is continuing to rise and has hit record highs in numerous states, including Tennessee. The cost of foodstuffs in grocery stores continues to rise as well, with no end in sight. Try as they might – – – and they have tried – – – to blame everything under the sun for the spiraling tide of inflation, it is their baby. Joe Biden and the Democrat war on energy, their desire to make us a nation of bike-riding Green New Dealers is the root cause for the inflation making life ever more difficult for working families. Working families struggle to pay their bills, put groceries on their tables, and literally feed babies due to the disappearance of baby formula in our country. What are Knox County Democrats talking about? Climate change and abortion.

The Democrats don’t give a hoot about working people. In fact, the policies they advocate either benefit the elite or those who expect a hand out from the government from subsidized housing to government-subsidized everything. In effect, they worry about those who don’t work and contribute nothing to society save for bills.

It was not Republicans who by and large supported trade deals that benefitted everybody except for union workers in the United States. It was the Democrats who shipped good-paying jobs overseas with their high taxes on corporations and globalist policies that put America and Americans last.

Local Democrats are campaigning on a national agenda here in Knox County. There is little discussion about anything that means anything to working people or those who pay the taxes to keep the government running.


Inflation Poll

A new NBC poll asked Americans the following question: “Do you think that your family’s income is. . .going up faster than the cost of living, staying about even with the cost of living, or falling behind the cost of living?” 65% of respondents said their family is falling behind, while 28% stated they are running about even with rising costs. A meager 6% claimed their family incomes were rising faster than the cost of living.

Gas prices have risen about 40 cents in the last month alone. The average price in the country for a gallon of gas a year ago was $3.04. The average cost per gallon in the United States as this is written is $4.48, an increase of $1.44 per gallon.

Illegal Immigration Out of Control

During the month of April of 2022, at least 234,088 illegal aliens crossed the border into our country. It sets a new record for the largest number of illegals to cross the border in our country’s modern history. The confirmed count of the number of illegal aliens to enter the United States since Joe Biden assumed office is more than 2.75 million.