Monday, December 10, 2007

He was warned

Governor Phil Bredesen is now warning State agencies and that revenue may fall short in the coming year because tax collections are not where he thought they would be:

The state came in $136 million below projections in the first quarter of the fiscal year. Bredesen said preliminary numbers for November looked better, but it won't be until January before officials know how much tax revenue the crucial holiday shopping season generated.

The Democratic governor said he has no illusions of a complete rebound.

"We will end up short this year," he said.

Bredesen said he hasn't decided where he will make cuts in the current year's spending plan, but that he hopes to have an idea by the time he outlines next year's budget plan in late January.

"We will handle it smoothly and we'll have to make little cuts here and there," he said. "We're certainly going to have to do some trimming this year."

The papers aren't saying this (and do not expect them to, most of the press in this State is on very friendly terms with the Governor) but Bredesen was warned that his new spending prerogatives in the most recent budget could end up leaving the State with a budget shortfall. He was told that his multiple new tax proposals and wasteful spending would lead to a shortfall of revenue.

Now the inevitable shortfall that he was warned would occur if he did not change course has come to pass, and Bredesen is having a boo-hoo session in front of the press. He's saying "we're going to be short this year but I'll make sure it is okay." At one point he said "I'm not breaking into a sweat or anything."

This kind of behavior seems indicative of the last two Governors of this State in their second terms-one Republican and one Democrat. Both men were enormously popular, and both won re-election by huge margins. It seems that when they get into that second term and become lame-ducks who are no longer answerable to the people, they then embark upon policy decisions which would have gotten them beaten like a pinata in a General Election. The parallels between the previous administration in Nashville and the present one are quite striking.

Will Bredesen do as Sundquist did and propose an income tax, insuring Republican victory in 2010 in the same way Sundquist insured Bredesen's victory in 2002?



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