Morning Coffee – Line in the Sand Edition

As Trace noted yesterday it’s budget time in Tennessee. Actually, it’s been budget time since the legislature got in session. Now that they’ve worked their way through all the “Guns in everywhere” and “Freedom from healthcare decisions” bills they’re left with that pesky budget. I’m sure this displeases many up on the hill.

It’s not that there isn’t plenty of opportunity to grandstand on the budget, it’s that it’s just not as sexy as some wedge issue bill that ultimately does absolutely nothing. And unlike one of these wedge issue bills, you could actually seriously screw something up if you’re not careful.

So when it comes to budget time, and you hear legislators using words and phrases like line in the sand and give it the boot, in reference to the budget plans of one of the legislative bodies (in this case the Senate) it tells you that the already contentious process of passing a budget is a little bit more so this year.

Under the plan put forth by the Republicans in the Senate, the already trim budget cuts things like teacher salaries, agriculture investments, and cost of living increases for state employees (which they haven’t had in several years). They do all this while ignoring sensible revenue enhancements, leaving in money for a fish hatchery (fish=pork), and not touching the “rainy day fund” that has been set aside for times just like this, when the financial outlook is looking bad.

What’s worse, the Republican budget is more of a reshuffling of the deck than anything else. Recurring expenses are not matched with recurring revenues, something that puts the very programs they’re trying to fund in long-term jeopardy.

As Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Mike McWherter said at the Memphis Rotary Club yesterday:

…when my father left office this state was recognized, literally recognized, as the best-managed state in the country. I was with him. When his successor came into office, he routinely proceeded to use non reoccurring revenue to balance the budget. Then he looked like a genius running for re-election because he did not have to raise taxes or do anything. Well, y’all know what happened the next four years, we struggled from one budget to another trying to make ends meet. Gov. Bredesen inherited a fiscal mess. I believe he is dedicated to leaving this state better than he found it and it is because he is responsible, he is matching reoccurring expenses with reoccurring revenue. And this proposal right now — it can change. it’s a lot of things can change — but this proposal right now, it does not do that.

Y’all need to rise up, unless you want to live through what we lived through with Don Sundquist, y’all need to rise up and talk about it and be talking about it with your state legislators.

It seems that the Republicans in the State Senate have buried their heads in the sand, deciding once again to push the failed economic policies of Don Sundquist on the people of the state of Tennessee. It seems that they’re more interested in using their majority in the Senate to push an ideological agenda that serves their special interests than work to serve the needs of the people of Tennessee.

McWherter’s right, it is time to “rise up and start talking to our state legislators”. It’s time to tell them we don’t want what the Senate Republicans are offering. It’s time to tell them we want a budget for all of us, not just whomever is going to benefit from a fish hatchery in some far off county. It’s time to tell them to stop with the games and start with the governing.

We didn’t elect them for games.

/rant off

I think I’ve had enough Coffee this morning, but you’re welcome to some. Help yourself!

I’m sure the news that Tennessee is the Nation’s most corrupt state will be met with the same love and care that Memphis being the most miserable city was. Also, they obviously haven’t been to Mississippi.

The National Guard is helping with flood cleanup. Y’all stay safe and thank you for your service.

You can’t win ’em all. Sometimes you can’t win any of ’em.

Since the TVA can’t decide if they’re public or private, I think it’s about time someone TOLD them.

Have a great day out there today!

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