Bredesen's true colors begin to showSomething I have always believed about the modern-day Democratic Party is that even when they are well-intentioned, tax increases are encoded on their political DNA. They may tell you that they will not raise your taxes, and they may even run on the notion that they did not or will not do it. You can rest assured, however, that a Democrat in a position of power will find some rhyme or reason, some excuse to increase your tax bill. While Republicans may also increase taxes (especially at the federal level), doing so for the GOP is the political kiss of death-and not always because they promise not to. After all, it was Bill Clinton who swore "I will not raise taxes on the middle class to pay for these programs," and then almost immediately upon being sworn in goes before the American people and said "but I can't." Sure, Clinton's party lost control of Congress the following year, but politically he came off smelling like a rose.
It is a bit easier to punish tax hikers at the State level-or so we think. Tennesseans likely believed that they were somehow "punishing" Don Sundquist by electing Phil Bredesen as Governor in 2002. After all, Sundquist betrayed his own former conservative credentials in the name of "tax fairness" and "raising more revenue" waited until his second term, when he was a lame duck, to go before the people of Tennessee and go along with a plan for a State income tax-what amounted to a massive tax hike. Sundquist's own party turned on him, though, and Republican opposition to the income tax (along with popular support for the anti-income tax position) helped kill it.
A lot of Republicans voted for Phil Bredesen this last time, and I talked to many of them. One told me "I did not vote for Bredesen last time around, but I will this time-I think he has done a wonderful job managing the State's money." Another said "Bredesen is the best Governor we've had in my lifetime, and I've never voted for a Democrat, but I am voting for Bredesen." These folks put their trust in Bredesen because as far as they could see, their taxes did not go up and the State was in sound financial health. All of this is very true, of course...but in a second term, Bredesen is answerable to no one-and there are plenty in his party who await the chance to raise taxes with baited breath.
Sure enough, we learn this week that good ol' Phil has been taking money from the gas tax fund which pays for road construction and using it for "other projects," and so as a result there will soon be a shortfall in the road construction fund. The Governor's solution: Raise the gas tax. The State of Tennessee has a nearly $400 million surplus (at least) and King Phillip can't find the money for his "other projects" there-he has to raid the road construction fund? Then he wants to raise our taxes when that fund runs low? Oh joy!
Note to Mumpower, Brooks, Casada, Niceley, Dunn, Ramsey, Norris, and all of the Brethren on the Hill: Oppose this tyranny at every turn, and while you are at it you can expose Bredesen for the fraud that he is to the good people who put their trust in him.
Oh...and don't blame me, I voted for Bryson.
Labels: Tennessee politics