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VOL. 132 | NO. 14 | Thursday, January 19, 2017


Bill Dries

Last Word: Haslam's Call, Redbirds Change Branding and Economists on Trump

By Bill Dries

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Wizards over Grizz in pre inaugural D.C. Wednesday evening 104-101. Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and Cong. Steve Cohen in a number of Facebook and Twitter posts at the game. The Grizz return home Friday to play the Kings. Meanwhile, the Tigers in Houston Thursday to play the Cougars.

It was the day of the gas tax in Nashville Wednesday as Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam proposed a seven-cent hike in the state’s gas tax, 12 cents in the diesel tax and $5 more in state vehicle registration fees. It is the first gas tax increase since 1989. As expected, Haslam left no doubt that Tennessee will remain a pay-as-you-go state when it comes to road projects.

Our Nashville correspondent, Sam Stockard, has more details on the plan and reaction from the Shelby delegation and other voices.

Once the inauguration is in the books, look for a tour by Haslam across the state to talk more about all of this.

A preview of the latest in the series of Daily News seminars. This one on the business of sports Jan. 26 at The Brooks will be very much an examination of how far we’ve come with a sports calendar that has very little down time and more importantly how sports – the Grizz in particular, the city’s major league franchise, has become a part of our daily lives. And the folks on the panel can speak about that with an authority you won’t encounter anywhere else.

The Memphis Redbirds have changed up their branding with new logos. To each his own, but the unveiling was followed by some good and bad reviews on social media and a bit of taunting from the Nashville Sounds baseball franchise with the Redbirds quick to point out the Sounds appear to have appropriated their logo from the Memphis Sounds of the ABA. It’s on, Titan-Town.

Year-end crime numbers from the local Crime Commission Wednesday confirm a rise in violent crime in 2016 fueled by a record homicide count and a homicide rate that was the highest since the Crime Commission set a statistical baseline to measure crime in 2006.

South of the state-line, Renasant and Metropolitan Banks announced Wednesday they are merging and the deal should close in the third quarter.

In the Tennessee Legislature:

The junk food bill may be gone, but it is not forgotten, at least not by state Representative Joe Towns of Memphis who said the sponsor of the since-withdrawn bill to ban food stamp recipients from buying junk food has “lost her damn mind.”

In his “View From The Hill” column, Sam Stockard, reports on the rise of broadband co-ops in rural Tennessee and some change in positions in the Legislature since the state took the city of Chattanooga to court over the city’s entry into the broadband business – an act Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke regards as essential to the city’s economic development.

In Little Rock. Ark. Gov. Asa Hutchinson proposes a tax cut and gets a frosty reception from fellow Republicans in the Legislature who believe the cut should have been bigger.

On the road to Friday’s inauguration, several Memphis economist and financial experts weigh in on Donald Trump’s pre-inauguration comments on business and markets and trade policy. The verdict is the comments are about fair trade over free trade and are an end-run at least for now around GOP orthodoxy.

Lots of judgments are being made about those participating in the entertainment that is a part of the inauguration. The University of Tennessee Pride of the Southland band will march in the parade in what the band director says is a non political trip. The band has marched in every inaugural parade since Eisenhower and the band director refers to this year’s parade as “a march for democracy.”

The new marketing director at Youth Villages comes to the nonprofit from Hilton Worldwide and likes making her own waffles.

The Memphis Real Estate Recap includes a $25 million loan for a Texas apartment management company to add The Bridges at Germantown to its portfolio.

PROPERTY SALES 157 157 10,093
MORTGAGES 161 161 11,107
BUILDING PERMITS 229 229 22,402
BANKRUPTCIES 54 54 6,365