Democrats devoid of common senseWhenever Tennessee Democrats lately complain about the ever-increasing budget shortfall in this State, they bemoan the fact that according to their strange reckoning of the universe, our tax system is unfair and inequitable. It is impossible, they tell us, to have maintained our recent surplus (which last year was the largest such State government surplus in the United States). These are the same people who told Tennesseans during last year's budget proposal that the State could fund the Basic Education Plan with a massive increase in the tax on tobacco while proceeding to enact a Statewide public smoking ban which took effect this past October.
Health care advocates were thrilled because the tax increase, which was clearly designed to modify public behavior, would likely encourage Tennesseans to quit smoking in droves. Many Republicans warned that if the State was going to tax tobacco while enacting a public smoking ban, the money would not be a reliable source of funding for education precisely because people would quit smoking. Republicans in the Legislature warned of a coming budget shortfall if the tax increase and the ban were enacted together.
And so they were-and lo and behold, we have a budget shortfall.
Do these people think us so stupid as to believe that the State could tax tobacco while implementing a widespread ban on its most popular method of use, and then rely on the taxes from the banned substance to fund a major operation of State Government. Logic would dictate that a budget shortfall is inevitable.
I seem to have forgotten that common sense is not to be found in large quantities among modern-day Democrats. Meanwhile, Governor Bredesen is looking at funding his party bunker in spite of the budget difficulties.