Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester said the state’s Republican congressional House members showed their partisan stripes again when they voted against a measure extending tax relief for fellow Tennesseans.

The Tax Extenders Act of 2009 passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday, Dec. 9, by an overwhelming margin despite all four Republican House members from Tennessee voting against it. The measure now has to receive U.S. Senate approval before it can be sent to the president for his approval into law.

“Tennesseans should be angry at those four for playing partisan politics instead of trying to help them, especially in these hard economic times,” Forrester said. “At a time when so many families here in Tennessee are struggling to make ends meet, we need all the help we can get. We don’t need grandstanding from our elected officials.”

The bill extends tax credits through 2010 to Tennesseans by allowing them to deduct state and local sales taxes from their federal income tax returns, as well as allowing tax deductions for certain expenses for school teachers and people paying tuition. The extension would also apply to Tennessee businesses receiving tax credits for, among other things, research activities and equipment depreciations.

U.S. Reps. Marsha Blackburn, John Duncan, Phil Roe and Zach Wamp voted against the tax-relief extension. All five Tennessee House Democrats voted in favor of the measure.

“Tennessee Republicans continue their shameless demagoguery against Democratic efforts to turn around the economy and move the country forward,” Forrester said. “We need to remind our forgetful Republican friends that it was the previous eight years of failed policies from a Republican president that mired this economy and nearly collapsed our financial markets.

“The economy is now growing again for the first time in more than a year. The Gross Domestic Product, the basic measure of a country’s overall economic performance, was up 3.5 percent during the third quarter. Tax relief like this will serve to stimulate our state’s economy. I don’t understand why our Republican delegation would vote against it,” he added.

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