Taxing Meal

Yes, that was Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett breaking bread with U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander last week at Wright's Cafeteria. (Home court advantage, Burchett.) Rumors have been flying that Burchett might challenge Alexander in the Republican primary next year. Burchett is non-committal, but doesn't dismiss the talk.

A group from Indiana that led the effort that defeated U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar in a Republican primary came to Knoxville recently and met Burchett at Long's Drugstore to gauge his interest.

But Burchett told friends he and Alexander did not discuss the Senate race. The primary topic was about the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would allow states to require online companies to collect sales tax. Alexander voted for the bill, Burchett has criticized it as a tax increase.

Burchett is still opposed to the bill.