- DBSA Memphis (TN) finished the year on a strong note. They set up a new website in conjunction with other local DBSA chapters in preparation for running PSAs in those areas. Another aspect of their public outreach was setting up bake sales at the local farmers market. They also registered for Guidestar.org which led them to receive donations through Amazon Smile and the Kroger Community Rewards Program. Finally, they held a listening session for all group participants to get feedback about how things are going and how they can continue to serve the members and community’s needs.
Chapter Spotlight: Congratulations to the Winners of the 4th Quarterly Chapter Spotlight Awards of 2014!
"Please forgive the lateness of the hour.
The primary legislative issue this year was around funding for peer support centers. Original plans to cut all funding were changed after an outcry from advocates including a systematic effort by dbsa members. It was a great effort by many people and showed the power of ordinary people to make a difference when they raised their voices in an united fashion. Lots of reason for everyone to be proud.
Medicaid expansion did not happen and faces an uphill battle next year.
The AOT pilot project in Knoxville will continue for one year. Efforts to extend it past that were unsuccessful.
Several major bills involving mental health are now being debated on the national level."
Larry is at work again this year to rally individuals and groups across the state to keep the peer service centers open. The battle fought and won is back on our doorsteps. I sat with a group of individuals this past week, writing and signing cards to Gov. Haslam. We did it together last year, why not win again this year?
Lately, I am writing about serious issues. These are issues I have overcame in my life and include in my new manuscript. I want to remember and keep my priorities straight. So, I include humor in my day. I got several laughs out of this video. I trust that you will too.
thanks to Erin, Health Nut News
7 Tips To Have A Long-Lasting, Happy Relationship
In today's society, we don't have many role models or common ideal values when it comes to the question of how to have a long-lasting, happy relationship. Most of the things we learn are from trial and error. We're all just trying to figure it out — the ever-present question of how to coexist with our partner in the most harmonious, loving way.
But here are a few lessons that I've learned the hard way. When we are more flexible with ourselves and our partners, we communicate better, and get along better. These seven practices are essential for helping your relationship last — and to be happy, healthy and strong along the way.
1. Realize that it's impossible to "win" a fight. No one will ever win, ever.
When you are involved in an argument with your partner, it often becomes less about coming to a solution and more about "winning" the argument or being "right". The goal in conscious communication is to create more harmony in your relationship and find a solution that you both can agree upon. Rehashing the same ideas over and over again in an effort to feel "right" will not lead to happiness for anyone.
2. Connect to your partner as part of you.
Often, we view our loved ones as separate from us. But in our relationships, all of our interactions are two-sided, and it's important to keep this in mind for a healthy, happy relationship. We are all one, all connected.
When you begin to change your perception from separation to oneness, it is easier to drop the armor and let in your partner. Your communication will be better, and you'll feel more connected. Practice viewing your partner as another part of you that is trying to tell you something important. Always listen with an open heart — and in the case of a fight, listen without having to retaliate.
3. Always be open to the possibility that you might be wrong.
If your loved one has an issue with you, chances are it's at least worth looking into. There are probably very few people that know you better, so listen up instead of making excuses, pointing the finger, or detouring the conversation.
Explore the possibility that you may have something to work on. Reply lovingly with, "So what you're trying to say is ...?" "What are your suggestions on how I can improve?" "I love you and am willing to look into this." It's OK to be wrong. If you are — accept it and simply try making the change. We all want to grow and flourish, right? Those closest to you can play a crucial role in your spiritual growth and evolution.
Furthermore, if you show you are willing to accept your faults, your partner is more likely to follow suit and accept his downfalls too. Whether or not your partner is incredibly wise or evolved, if you genuinely want to have a better relationship, then it's worth it to listen with genuine curiosity and openheartedness.
4. Say goodbye to the silent treatment.
Plain and simple, the silent treatment is useless. If something is bothering you — talk about it. Holding a grudge can have an extremely negative impact on the energy and vibration in your home.
Create a space that is inviting and loving, by being open, honest, and kind. Your home should feel like a sanctuary — a refuge of peace from this often crazy world.
Even if you have a bone to pick, it's important to express that you are appreciative of the things that your partner may do that are awesome. Praise is so effective in drawing the best out of a person. If there is a behavior that you love and enjoy, give him props for it.
Of course, there will always be things that annoy you or make you angry. Ask, "Why does this particular behavior bother me SO much? "Who in my past has expressed something similar and how is this connected?" And so on.
So know you're triggers, so you are less likely to be reactive when something comes up. If you are always just criticizing and bashing your partner, he/she will feel unmotivated to make changes.
6. If you want something, give it.
Another way to say this is "be the change you want to see in your partner". If there is something you would like to see more of from your partner — try giving it to them first. You can't treat your spouse like dirt and expect flowers.
7. Don't expect everyone to express love in the same way.
Everyone has different ways of expressing themselves — especially in intimate contexts. Sometimes all you need is a hug, yet all he needs is to talk. Find a common ground. Ask, "What are the things I do that make you feel loved and supported?" Talk about your needs and ask what his are.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Now we have the 2014 educational webinars available for our chapters and support groups!
Thank you DBSA!
DBSA's complete library of 2014 educational webinars are archived and available online: http://bit.ly/1xbyOlj
Help available for dealing with depression
A life lived with depression can feel like a "deep, dark place," said Steve Brannon. But with a variety of pathways to recovery, hope is never out of reach — even during the toughest times.
Society often views depression in extremes, said Brannon, state director of Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance of Tennessee, as depression is often seen as an untreatable illness — or not as an illness at all. Depression should be taken very seriously, he said, but it shouldn't be approached in a "fatalistic" manner.
"Depression is treatable, and it responds quite well to treatment," Brannon said.
Describing depression as the "common cold of emotional mental disorders," Paul Deschenes — clinical psychologist and director of counseling services at Union University — said most people experience depression at some point in their life.
Deschenes said depression can be caused by a variety of factors, including the weather or the loss of a loved one. Because depression can be genetically based, it has the potential to be passed from one generation to the next, Brannon said.
In many cases, feeling depressed is normal, as no one is happy all the time, Deschenes said. What is not normal is when the grief and sadness continues indefinitely and begins to interfere with major areas in a person's life — signaling a more significant form of depression.
"They might experience things like negative thinking, self-criticism," Deschenes said. "They might experience feelings of hopelessness. Some people have thoughts of self-blame, and generally the thinking gets very negative, pessimistic. They might see the glass as being half-empty rather than half-full."
Additional symptoms can vary and even seem contradictory, Brannon said. Some people develop an increased appetite when they are depressed, while others may lose their appetite. Some people may sleep more often, while others experience insomnia. Some people may voice their thoughts of hopelessness, while others may not say a word.
Brannon said that a person with depression may stop bathing or using proper hygiene, and he or she may stay in the same clothes for weeks at a time. Deschenes also noted that a person may feel a loss of energy in accomplishing everyday tasks, as well as experience a decreased sex drive.
People who are depressed are more likely to develop other health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, Brannon said. Their lifespan also can be shortened up to 25 years.
"It might affect their relationships," Deschenes added, because people experiencing depression often decline invitations for social engagements or drop out of church. "Ultimately, left untreated, some depression might get so bad that it turns to suicide."
Deschenes said a depressed person often wants to sit at home and be alone with their thoughts, which can fuel negative feelings. As a result, he said people should get out of the house and begin taking small steps to return to a healthy level of functioning.
Picking up an enjoyable hobby or volunteering can help ease depression, Deschenes said. Because depression can cause distorted thinking, spending time with positive people can halt irrational and harmful thoughts as well.
Exercise also can help people overcome depression and could be as effective as medication in some cases, Deschenes added. In addition, he encouraged people to return to church if they have stopped attending, as a person's faith speaks to issues such as hope.
"Whatever help an individual goes for, we recommend that folks not only be very religious about medication but also go to counseling," Brannon said.
With new medical treatment options introduced regularly, Brannon said treatments can include transcranial magnetic stimulation, in which part of the brain is stimulated with magnetic waves. While the success rates can vary, he said the results have been encouraging and the technology is expected to continue improving.
Brannon added that people with depression should develop a support group. The individuals who form a person's support group need to check up on how the person feels emotionally, know whether the person is taking his or her medication and be available to talk whenever the person may need them.
The support group also needs to be able to recognize the symptoms of depression, as well as know when the depressed person is in need of medical attention, Brannon said.
Noting that teenagers and the elderly are more susceptible to suicidal tendencies, Deschenes said people should not be afraid of causing a suicide by asking if someone is suicidal. If someone is hinting at suicide or displaying suicidal tendencies, he said family and friends should approach the situation seriously and take the person to a mental health professional.
People also should not think that a suicide is inevitable for someone experiencing suicidal thoughts, Deschenes said. Most of the time, a person averted from a suicide attempt and helped by professionals can regain and lead a normal life.
"When people get into a deep, dark place like Robin Williams did, trust seems to go away," Brannon noted, as a dangerous sign of suicide is when a person stops trusting others to help them manage their depression. "It is times like that the support network has to realize that they can't help this individual they love — they need someone to call."
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which can be reached at 1(800) 273-8255, is a valuable resource for people contemplating suicide, Brannon said.
Brannon noted that Jackson also has a mood disorder support group, called "A Better Tomorrow." Meeting at 6:30 p.m. each Monday at St. Mary's Catholic Church, the group provides encouragement, education and information services for people with depression, as well as their family and friends.
The group often becomes like an extended family for members, Brannon said, as people with depression can understand what other group members face.
"It's something about being understood that's healing in itself," Brannon said. "That is so valuable for someone living with depression. You can't put a price on that."
To learn more about the Jackson depression support group, visit the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance of Tennessee's website at www.dbsatennessee.org. The alliance also can be reached at (731) 215-7200.
Reach Beth Knoll at (731) 425-9641. Follow her on Twitter @merribethknoll.
What to know
• The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which can be reached at 1(800) 273-8255, is a valuable resource for people contemplating suicide.
• Jackson's mood disorder support group, called "A Better Tomorrow," meets at 6:30 p.m. each Monday at St. Mary's Catholic Church. The group provides encouragement, education and information services for people with depression, as well as their family and friends.
• To learn more about the Jackson depression support group, visit the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance of Tennessee's website at www.dbsatennessee.org. The alliance also can be reached at (731) 215-7200.
Steve Brannon(Photo: Submitted)
Paul Deschenes(Photo: Submitted)
Allen Reflects on Thriving in 2014
As DBSA’s 2014: The Year of Thriving comes to a close, it seems appropriate to reflect on what we’ve accomplished this past year, and to think about what’s yet to come.
At the beginning of 2014, we outlined our vision of a future where every adult and child living with a mood disorder has the opportunity not just to survive, but to thrive. To some, this was a message of hope; to others, it seemed a goal almost impossible to imagine. I completely understand how some of my peers might find total wellness to be an unattainable goal. Indeed, I too have experienced times in my life when the only reality I could imagine was the intense pain of depression. In fact, I experienced times this very year when thriving seemed so very far away for me personally. But amidst messages about the danger and drain of people with mental health conditions, and my own concurrent thoughts of self-loathing and self-stigma, to know that there was a community that would hope for the return of my best self was a blessing. To hold hope when we cannot carry it ourselves: this has always seemed, to me, the fundamental purpose of peer support. DBSA was founded on a model of peer support, and DBSA will always be about creating opportunities for peer support, and through peer support—the thousands of people meeting in communities across the country—we are creating a world in which all of us may be reminded of our potential, our strength, and our best selves.
For me to return to a place of thriving took a lot of time and work and collaboration. It also took some luck. For I have been very lucky: to have found clinicians that do not put limitations on what my life can be; to have the support of loved ones and colleagues who remind me of who I am, not what condition I live with; to have insurance that gives me access to quality health care that covers both my physical and mental health; and to find inspiration in my work and the amazing people I have the privilege of working with, and for, in my role at DBSA.
Such good fortune—in clinical collaboration, in supportive community, in access to resources, in meaningful work—are what I, and the DBSA Board and staff, want for everyone, not just the very lucky.
So in 2014, we asked our peers, families, clinicians, researchers, politicians, and the public to expect more. We asked our community to promote and seek full wellness—because better is not well, and everyone deserves the opportunity to thrive.
I am proud of the work DBSA accomplished in 2014, and I encourage you to review our 2014: Year of Thriving programs. I believe that we did open minds—and even a few doors—to the possibility of thriving. A few highlights include:
But so much more must be done. So we ask,
“What needs to happen for us to have wellness change from being a possibility for some to a probability for most?”
It will require:
We made some significant strides this past year, but we do not fool ourselves by believing that these first steps have produced monumental change. That will take persistence. That will take courage. That will take time. That will take hope. That will take ALL of us.
It is through thousands, indeed millions, of inspired, imperfect actions that we will slowly transform these small steps into big changes and create a future where wellness is no longer a possibility for only some lucky few, but a probability for all.
Thank you for joining us on this journey,
TennCare and the state budget process have been in the news. Cuts to funding for mental health in Tennessee have been proposed.
Gov. Bill Haslam said recently that he's talked with nine Republican governors who have expanded Medicaid for low-income people in their states. Haslam has been criticized for refusing last year to agree to $1.4 billion in federal funds to cover about 180,000 uninsured Tennesseans. After the TennCare state budget hearing, Haslam told reporters that he talked with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell this week and that he plans to make a decision about expanding Medicaid by Christmas.
Can we afford more cuts?
The next 12 days are critical
Please join NAMI Tennessee and other mental health advocates by saying yes to Medicaid Expansion and no to additional cuts for mental illness. Visit your local legislator and share this message now. We have a brief window before Christmas for our message to be heard. Your voice matters!
Day on the Hill will be March 18, 2015
Visits to legislators in their home districts make a huge impact. Visits now impact the budget process before the Governor presents his budget to the legislator and the public debates in the Statehouse begin. We also have a chance to impact the budget process and provide education to legislators by participating in Day on the Hill. We hope that you mark March 18, 2015 on your calenders and join us for this day of advocacy
The first letter
My name is Larry Drain. This is the first in a series of letters you will be receiving over the next couple of months written by myself or my wife Linda. Our concern is Tenn Care expansion, rather it be the Tennessee Plan Governor Haslam has talked about or another alternative. We hope to explain why we think it is a good idea and convince you to support it when it comes to the General Assembly at the start of 2015.
You may be familiar with our story. http://wp.me/p4E9xY-3W. Briefly my wife and I separated to maintain her Tenn Care after we found out without Tenn Care expansion my retirement income (which still leaves us far below the poverty level) would be enough to cost her her Tenn Care and access to the medication and treatment she needed to stay alive and have any quality of life at all. On December 26 we will have been separated for one year. I would be glad to speak with you further about our story if you think it would help.
Several months ago I started writing Governor Haslam on an almost daily basis asking him to consider expanding Tenn Care (http://deargovernorhaslam.wordpress.com). Those letters can be read at the link above. On November 10 I delivered to Governor Haslam’s office a petition asking for Tenn Care expansion signed by over 47,000 people..
The decision you will be facing is one of the most important you will ever make. Studies show that as many as 900 people will die in Tennessee this year from lack of insurance. Michelle Fardan’s daughter Monika was one. Monika was 34 old. She had a broken toe and literally died from the complications from it. She died from being poor. It shouldn’t have happened. It didn’t need to happen. No one else needs to die.
The voices of people in the coverage gap largely go unheard. The coverage gap are those people who don’t make enough money to qualify for insurance through the ACA, who would qualify for insurance had Tenn Care been expanded but because of Tennessee’s failure to accept federal funding for expansion are without insurance. Close to 60% of them are the working poor. Many others are disabled. I am in the coverage gap. I make $5000 too little. I have been told I need an operation but without insurance that will never happen.
I don’t know if you know any of your constituents in the coverage gap but if you don’t I hope you will attempt to meet them. The decision you will soon be making is so important.
You are in my and my wives prayers. Thank you so much for your time.
Until the next letter.
In 2006, a DBSA State Organization was only a vision. In 2007 it became a reality. At that time we didn't know exactly what the organization would accomplish. We started with the belief that bringing Chapter Leaders together from across the state to share ideas would benefit all. And it has! This is evidenced by the increasing number of Tennesseans that attend our groups and whose lives are better because of the support and courage they find there. DBSA is becoming known to healthcare providers across the state as a free and valuable resource that improves the lives of people living with a mood disorder. A lot of work has been done to make DBSA Tennessee effective in the mission of improving lives, educating about mental health and advocating for equality in healthcare. Like my predecessors, Gary Miles and Steve Brennon, my hope is that I leave DBSA Tennessee stronger.
In 2015, we will continue to grow DBSA into an organization that has a Chapter with a support group in each of the 95 Tennessee counties. We will continue to educate, with the possibility of a statewide speaker's panel. We will begin working with Phyllis Foxworth, DBSA's National Director of Advocacy, to create a DBSA Tennessee Grassroots Advocacy group.
I appreciate your work to continue our mission. Together we change lives for the better. We make a difference. DBSA Tennessee continues to grow. We set goals and reach those goals.
I look forward to hearing from you with your ideas and your issues. We are where change begins.
I have many cherished friends living with major, "invisible" health challenges. Everyday they work very hard to prevent others from knowing of their struggles. They work to "pass" as being just another face in the crowd.
Mother pleads for Medicaid expansion on behalf of dead daughter
Tom Wilemon, email@example.com
4:45 p.m. CST November 10, 2014
Michele Fardan sat with her eyes closed in silent prayer clutching a piece of folded paper.
On the front of the paper was a picture of her daughter, Monika Laird. Printed inside was as much about her life that could be told in a memorial handout from a funeral. When the prayer ended, Fardan walked up to a microphone in front of the Tennessee Capitol on Monday and told how her daughter delayed getting medical care because she didn’t have insurance and died.
“I just want to speak for Monika because she is not here,” Fardan said.
She spoke at a rally for Medicaid expansion attended by about 60 people, several of them holding up big signs, some with clever rhymes such as “Close the Haslam Chasm.” There also was a book with 47,250 signatures asking Gov. Bill Haslam to take action on the health care coverage gap. She and three other Tennesseans presented the petition to a member of Haslam’s administration immediately after the rally.
Fardan kept clutching her piece of paper as tightly as a mother holds the hand of her first-born child.
“Monika didn’t deserve that,” she said. “She was a good girl. She was a decent citizen. Never in trouble or anything. She had plans, hopes.”
Laird was 37 years old when she died July 3. She was an aspiring screenwriter who wanted to make movies, her mother said. She was a woman without insurance who didn’t go to a doctor over a broken toe or want to go to a hospital when her legs hurt. After she became weak and lethargic, her mother made her go to a hospital. That same day Laird died from a pulmonary embolism.
“Thank you for your time,” Fardan said just before turning the microphone over to someone else.
“Thank you for your courage,” someone shouted back.
Fardan squeezed back tears after her speech, then yelled out in in anger before entering the Capitol.
“Close the gap!” she chanted alongside Larry Drain and Linda Drain — a husband and wife who must live apart so the wife can get TennCare — and David Adcox, a man with bones in his lower back that are disintegrating.
They were the ones who presented the petition to Don Johnson, with the governor’s Office of Constituent Services. Larry Drain, who has written 127 letters to Haslam about Medicaid expansion, said he asked for a meeting with the governor. He said Johnson was courteous but did not provide a response to that request.
Alexia Poe, director of communications for the governor, said Haslam is still working on a way to fill coverage gaps in Tennessee.
“He talked to Secretary (Sylvia Mathews) Burwell recently and talked to the president briefly about it Tuesday night,” Poe said. “Our challenge remains the same: getting to something that Washington will approve that meets the governor’s objectives for better health outcomes and the ability to address cost that he can also get approved by the General Assembly.”
Fardan said she appreciated Johnson taking the time to hear her share her daughter’s story.
Reach Tom Wilemon at 615-726-5961 and on Twitter @TomWilemon.
Governor Haslam says he is not as "optimistic" about a Tennessee Plan as he was 6 weeks ago. I take this to mean the federal government is unlikely to accept any proposed elements of the Tennessee Plan that violate or contradict federal law or regulation. He is not going to be able to write the rules. He is going to have to follow them. If the condition of him fighting for Tenn Care expansion is for it to be an easy fight he is not going to make the fight.
The election has been in the strangest of circumstances the "dead period" (What kind of political system makes it off limits to talk about the most important issue to face for fear someone would have to take a stand on it?) It is now time to define the conversation that will govern the decision on Tenn Care expansion.
The people who would have us vote no on Tenn Care expansion will try to make us believe that a no vote is the only way to save us from a federal menace that will lead us to chaos. In face of all the facts to the contrary that is momentous argument to make but that has never stopped a politician yet.
The voice missing is ours. It is time for Tennessee to be for Tennesseans regardless of their socioeconomic status and for politicians to talk to the people they work for. Share your story and your concerns today. Call your legislator and speak to him today. You will only be heard if you speak.
You are invited to legislative plaza in Nashville on November 10. Linda and I will be having a "Speak to the people" rally. 46000 people have spoke. They have signed a petition urging Governor Haslam to expand Tenn Care and we will deliver that petition. Other people in the coverage gap will be speaking. We hope to see you there about 11am. Please share this post and spread the word.
Thanks a lot.
Larry and Linda
Tennessee Gov. Haslam orders state agencies to cut spending
By Andy Sher
Sunday, September 28, 2014
· NASHVILLE -- Gov. Bill Haslam has ordered state agencies to slash discretionary spending by up to 7 percent as his administration builds the new budget it will present to legislators early next year.
The move comes with the state’s general fund, which pays for most functions of government including education, showing a $302.4 million revenue shortfall for the fiscal year 2013-2014 budget that ended June 30.
Administration officials on Friday confirmed the directive given to departments. Agencies’ plans are due Monday. How much actually winds up getting cut and where in Haslam’s fiscal year 2015-2016 budget will depend on a variety of factors.
But after years of reductions, Tennessee may be on the verge of having to make tough choices next year, possibly abolishing entire programs, said one top lawmaker.
“I think that could be the case,” said Senate Finance Chairman Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge. “In the past they’ve done some of that trimming through things like over appropriations [automatic holdbacks of funds] and positions unfilled for years.”
McNally added, “I think all of that’s gone now.”
He said the major problem with the state revenue picture is business franchise and excise tax collections.
In his Aug. 15 directive to departments, Finance Commissioner Larry Martin explained that “funding the services of state government within available revenues continues to be [a] challenge. As a result, it is expected that reductions will again be required in order to balance.”
Departments and other agencies are submitting plans in two parts. The first is to show how they would cut 7 percent. This is beyond the money the state customarily expects won’t be spent over the course of a year, known as the “over appropriation.”
The second part of the directive asks departments to provide a list of base reductions they would use to offset any proposed increase requests in areas officials consider vital.
Business taxes causing the problem
Flagging collections in Tennessee’s two main business taxes have been the main culprit behind recent problems.
The franchise tax on business property and the excise tax on corporate income forced Haslam, a Republican, and lawmakers last April to cut $276 million from the fiscal year 2014-2015 budget the governor presented to lawmakers last January.
As a result, Haslam, whom many think has national ambitions, was forced into the embarrassing position of breaking a promise he made in his State of the State speech: Providing teachers, state workers and higher education employees with 2.5 percent raises.
The total FY 14-15 budget, which took effect July 1, is $32.4 billion and 2.4 percent less than the last fiscal year’s $33.2 billion spending plan. Some $12.9 billion in this year’s budget comes from the federal government, according to a legislative analysis.
Last week, Haslam and other top officials were in New York where Wall Street’s three major bond rating agencies voiced concerns about problems with Tennessee’s business taxes.
“Because that was the cause of our shortfall, there were quite a bit of questions about that in terms of cause and whether we see a long-term trend there,” Haslam told reporters in a conference call Thursday after meeting with Fitch Ratings Inc., Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s Financial Services.
The governor said part of the franchise and excise tax declines were due to overpayments made last year by businesses, which make payments in advance based on estimates.
“And second,” Haslam added, “the fact the businesses are getting a lot more strategic about how and what they pay. We’re trying to do work on our side to make sure we collect what we should. We had that conversation with all three agencies.”
He said one of the “key points” made to the bond rating agencies “is that last year when Tennessee had a surplus, we reacted in the right way and didn’t spend all that. This year we had a shortfall [and] we reacted in a way we have to by making cuts.”
Rating agencies “realize that revenues will rise and fall,” Haslam said. “They want to see if you are willing to adapt regardless of the circumstance.”
Haslam mentioned nothing to reporters about the latest efforts to “adapt” with the spending cut directive, which the Times Free Press obtained a day later.
A simple explanation?
The administration was put on the defensive last spring by legislative Democrats who said figuring out the problem with franchise and excise taxes should be a fairly simple thing. Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville, said all they had to do was take a look at the top 50 corporate payers of the tax.
State Revenue Department officials are now studying the problems, with recommendations expected in January.
But a Nashville-based tax attorney, Brett Carter, agreed with Stewart last spring in an article he wrote for State Tax Notes, a national publication. And Carter thinks he’s figured it out a “likely” answer to the cause that indeed does appear fairly simple.
Using publicly available court documents, Carter points to the 2012 relocation of McKesson Corp.’s Southeastern pharmaceutical distribution center from Memphis across the state line to Olive Branch, Miss. Tennessee tax policies had previously resulted in litigation and Carter delved into the material.
While McKesson is just one company, Carter wrote, the court documents reveal the move was highly important because “McKesson’s facility served as the primary distribution channel for pharmaceutical companies throughout the United States and [the move] resulted in millions of dollars in franchise and excise tax revenue in Tennessee.”
Carter said the companies may have been paying more than $150 million in Tennessee franchise and excise taxes and saw a major opportunity to slash their costs by moving to Mississippi, which has lower taxes.
McNally said state lawmakers are looking at that and ways to restructure the taxes.
On problems, positives, and persistence
Allen Doderlain... you are a person of wise mind and good heart. I really enjoyed listening to you speak. You prompted much of what is below. I do take full responsibility for anything that doesnt make sense or sounds silly.
It occurs to me that:
1. You should never minimize the problems in your life but no matter how bad things are, how messy problems are bad things are what you must cope with, not what you must settle for. That is a critical distinction too many of us dont make. To cope with does not mean to settle for. And so often, too often we do settle. We dont have to. And that is the most realistic thing you can know.
2. Dont attach a "yes but" to the positives in your life. Too often we measure what is right by how much is wrong. Treat good stuff important. Things become treasure by the value we treat them with. Become a ruthless treasurer.
3. Be persistent. Refuse to be defined by what is hard. Instead define yourself by your pursuit of what is possible.
Life is your testimony. Choose a story you really want to tell.