Knox News Sentinel last night/today.
— Unedited Version Below —
Letter to Editor,
Forced Annexation is immoral. The very powerful Tennessee Municipal League (who represents the cities who benefit from Forced Annexation) is of course in favor of cities being able to annex without home owners, farmers and businesses in the annexed areas getting in the way. These cities just spend and spend and then simply raise revenue (and protect their bond ratings) by seizing money from the surrounding county areas. This is no more ethical than if they were going door to door taking the money at gun point. The fact that the citizens annexed did not have to be notified, or be able to even comment is, I guess, no big deal to these thugs. It makes it harder for counties to attract business growth when those businesses can be forcibly annexed by a nearby city … usually doubling the business’s property taxes. It also, over time, shifts local sales tax revenue away from the county schools to the predatory city school system.
Although it may be a “good deal” for the cities to grab power and money … there is nothing moral about it. In Anderson County we had folks whose first notice was a city tax bill (almost doubling their annual property taxes). Most ethical folks call this a total violation of due process (supposedly guaranteed by the U.S. and TN Constitutions). What has happened to consent of the governed? City managers really like victims who are powerless and thus like Forced Annexation. What is just about Forced Annexation? Nothing. It must be ended now. There are good reasons why a super majority of the TN House has cosponsored these bills. There are good reasons why Forced Annexation is not allowed in 47 states. Folks opposing the end of Forced Annexation need to go back and review their oath of office and the TN Constitution.
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Art. X, Sec. 1. Oath of office.
Every person who shall be chosen or appointed to any office of trust or profit under this Constitution, or any law made in pursuance thereof, shall, before entering on the duties thereof, take an oath to support the Constitution of this State, and of the United States, and an oath of office.
Art X, Sec. 2. Oath of members of the general assembly.
Each member of the Senate and House of Representatives, shall before they proceed to business take an oath or affirmation to support the Constitution of this State, and of the United States and also the following oath: I _________________ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that as a member of this General Assembly, I will, in all appointments, vote without favor, affection, partiality, or prejudice; and that I will not propose or assent to any bill, vote or resolution, which shall appear to me injurious to the people, or consent to any act or thing, whatever, that shall have a tendency to lessen or abridge their rights and privileges, as declared by the Constitution of this State.
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Art. XI, Sec. 16. Bill of rights to remain inviolate.
The declaration of rights hereto prefixed is declared to be a part of the Constitution of this State, and shall never be violated on any pretence whatever. And to guard against transgression of the high powers we have delegated, we declare that everything in the bill of rights contained, is excepted out of the General powers of government, and shall forever remain inviolate.
The Anderson County Commission unanimously approved a resolution supporting the end of forced annexation in Tennessee last week.
Steven J. Mead, LCDR USN (Ret)
Anderson County Commissioner (Dist. 6)