Wednesday, July 03, 2002
'T' for Taxes and 'T' for Tennessee

Okay, I heard that on Marketplace on PRI last night. Still... The Tennessee legistlators (aka, those clowns in Nashville) have yet to come up with revenue and spending plans (aka, a budget) for the current fiscal year, so "non-essential" state services are on hiatus.

You have to wonder how many of these bozos are enjoying the attention and spotlight. "Hey, Ma! We can shut down the government just like Congress can", etc.

Unfortunately, there just doesn't seem to be any consensus about what to pay for (for example, TennCare, the state's expensive health-insurance system remains a problem) or how to get money (no income tax, sales tax rate ridiculously high, fees ridiculously high, etc., no lottery, almost no gambling).

Executive leadership -- "that Republican carpetbagger Sundquist," as my brother describes the governor -- is pathetic if not nonexistent. The lame duck was reelected four years ago on the basis of deals for endorsements from Democratic legislators. That's a long time ago in the current context, and he holds no sway with any legislators at this point. Except the threat of a veto, which may take a couple of rounds to matter.

It's just one more example of that notoriously good Tennessee government.

Addendum: I meant to include links to coverage of the story in Tennessee newspapers. There's this one in the Memphis Commercial Appeal and this one in the (Nashville) Tennessean.