Bredesen's biggest supporter of BEP is a leading backer of an income taxTo support the Governor's Basic Indictrination-er...I mean Education Plan, he has to bring out the big guns to explain to Tennesseans how the proposal to increase the tobacco tax is going to fund education...how it will continue to fund education even though it is a diminishing source of revenue. At least we thought it was a diminishing source of revenue, but now Senator Rosalind Kurita, Democratic Senate Leader Jim Kyle, House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh, Democratic Leader Gary Odom, and a host of politicos from the other side of the aisle assure us that it shall not be. People will continue to smoke and chew the burley in spite of these unholy tax hikes on the leaf, they tell us.
These folks told us the same thing when they were preparing to enact a Statewide smoking ban. A forced smoking ban in a tobacco State-a ban that would not have left the choice up to business owners (the right thing to do), but would have uniformly enforced a public ban Statewide, even in tobacco stores with smoking rooms! Mercifully, it appears that ban has been scuttled-at least as the Governor had wanted it. The Governor's plan to use tobacco tax increases to fund education has not yet died, and he has brought out someone who is a major supporter of his plan. That supporter is Doctor William Fox, the leading economist at the University of Tennessee.
It seems quite normal that a Democratic Governor would call upon a college professor (a traditionally liberal group of people) to support his so-called plan. Earlier in the legislative session, the Governor "warned" the General Assembly that if he didn't get his way, it may "revive discussion" about an income tax. What he really meant is that he, the Great Philip, might "revive" discussion. One of the leading proponents in the parade of supporters for an income tax in 2000-2002 to was none other than the selfsame Dr. Bill Fox.
Now that Bredesen is safely in a second term, he is no longer answerable to the people. He can pull a Don Sundquist and he doesn't have to worry about the consequences any longer. Like Sundquist before him, he finished his first term being hailed by many as Messiah and Lord and was safely re-elected.
The leading supporter of Bredesen's proposal for the BEP is also the State's leading supporter of an income tax. This is a coincidence that might be worth brushing off were it not for the fact that it has been Bredesen warning of "reviving" talk of an income tax, and drags out the biggest supporter of an income tax to support an education plan so full of holes that when it becomes apparent that the money can't be correctly allocated, trusty Dr. Fox can then tell us how we need an income tax to solve the problem-how convenient.
Perhaps now we better understand why some students and faculty refer to the University of Tennessee as "the Big Orange Screw." (Note: this is in no way a reflection of my personal feeling about UT as an academic institution...but I do know from experience that university staff spend a great deal of time finding ever-new ways to "stick it" to students and the public.)
Bredesen will attempt before his term is out to push an income tax through "for the children." A good way to stop this may be to elect a General Assembly in 2008 that would be extremely unfriendly to that idea.
Labels: Tennessee politics