You have been a good and strong advocate for Tennessee's Natural Heritage but the current budget situation is leading to a mistake in the manner that may be chosen to balance the state's finances.
Using the real estate transfer fees paid on every real estate transaction being used to balance the general budget is a huge mistake. This is dedicated money paid to the State for a specific purpose. It is a fee that is supposed to go to protect land in Tennessee...Not a tax. This money should be used for the purpose for which it was intended and for which it is collected. It should go to the purpose for which Tennessee Citizens paid the fees, projects like securing the land adjacent to the Cumberland Trail System in Rhea County, for instance, which hits very close to home for me.
Governor, you have made the statement that the Tax Payers expect us to live within our means, and that is true. The Tax payers also expect that money they have paid above and beyond, and in addition to, taxes that is supposed to be put to specific uses, not be confiscated and used for other purposes.
This is a bad precedent to set for future Administrations who may not be as attentive to the needs of Tennessee's parks lands. In addition, this is not the time to step away from our obligations, particularly with so many pristine places and sensitive lands being divested by corporate interests and being developed.
Thank you for your time.