Alexander Accepts “Restoring the Balance” States’ Rights Award

Posted on December 4, 2013

Says states, local leaders should be left to make more decisions about taxes, education and other issues reserved to states under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution

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“Nothing made me madder when I was governor of Tennessee than folks in Washington thinking they knew best – coming up with a bright idea and leaving the state to pay for it, or keeping us from making our own decisions about taxes or education.” – Lamar Alexander 

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today spoke before the National Conference of State Legislatures and accepted its “Restoring the Balance Award” for standing up for the rights of states.

“Nothing made me madder when I was governor of Tennessee than folks in Washington thinking they knew best – coming up with a bright idea and leaving the state to pay for it, or keeping us from making our own decisions about taxes or education,” Alexander said. “We need to get the federal government out of the way and let governors, state legislators and local elected officials lead.”

The “Restoring the Balance Award” is given to members of Congress who have worked successfully to advance and protect states’ rights in United States’ federal system of government. Examples of Alexander’s work standing up for states’ rights include the Marketplace Fairness Act – which would allow states to decide for themselves whether to require remote sellers such as online retailers to collect state sales taxes that are already owed on a sale – and his efforts to move decisions about whether schools and teachers are succeeding or failing back to states and local communities.

Of the Marketplace Fairness Act, Alexander said: “The Marketplace Fairness Act is about two words: states’ rights. I believe in the Tenth Amendment, and I don’t think Tennessee or other states should have to play ‘Mother, may I?’ with the federal government to set their own tax policies.”

Of education reform, Alexander said: “Over the last decade, the U.S. Department of Education has become so congested with federal mandates that it has become, in effect, a national school board. The best way to help 50 million children in 100,000 public schools learn what they need to know and be able to do is to return that responsibility squarely where it belongs—on parents, teachers, communities and states.”

Alexander spoke at the National Conference of State Legislatures’ fall forum, which included hundreds of state legislators, state staff and others from around the country.

The Marketplace Fairness Act passed the U.S. Senate by a vote of 69-27 on May 6, and has the support of conservative leaders like Al Cardenas, head of the American Conservative Union, Reagan economist Arthur Laffer and Republican governors from all over the country. Alexander has also introduced legislation to fix “No Child Left Behind” by restoring local authority when Congress considers its reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

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