KNOXVILLE, Tn. (WHNT)– Earlier in the year the Obama Administration proposed selling all or part of the Tennessee Valley Authority as part of its 2014 budget. Reaction from local leaders was not positive. The idea is getting a similar reaction from a professor at the University of Tennessee.
“It’s something that has huge implications for the Tennessee Valley Region. It’s an economic decision that’s a lot bigger than simply an economic decision,” said Dr. Mary English.
English is a public policy professor at UT. She has written a policy brief on the TVA proposal.
One of the Obama administration’s arguments for selling the agency is to help lower the national debt. While TVA has not received tax dollars since 1999, the agency’s debt is still counted as part of the nation’s debt.
“Their current debt is no more than about 24 billion,” English said. “And all of that debt is debt that is serviced by TVA’s revenue.”
English says while TVA does have a debt worth 24 billion, the agency has assets worth 47 billion. She feels that when you look at the federal government’s almost 17 trillion dollar debt, clearing TVA’s 24 billion dollar debt off the books does not make good fiscal sense.
“To me it seems trivial,” she said. “24 billion in the grand scheme of the federal government?”