Friday, February 06, 2009

March of Doom

Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen has announced that he will not present his budget proposal until late March, in anticipation of the federal swine providing enough pork to cook his budgetary meal in pure lard:

The state budget will likely not be ready until late March, Gov. Phil
Bredesen said Thursday, a delay intended to take into account federal aid in the
massive stimulus package making its way through Congress.

The governor told the Tennessee Press Association he met with legislative
leaders, and they agreed that the budget would have to wait until the state
knows how much it will get from the stimulus package. That could mean postponing
the budget's delivery until late March, he said in an evening address to the

The governor will deliver his State of the State speech on Monday, but
without the budget, which typically accompanies the annual speech to the General

The most obvious question here is this: What is the General Assembly supposed to do between now and late March, twiddle their thumbs? Sure, they can pass some bills-but not much that requires any spending, because they will have no clue just how much money, if any, there is to spent. Much of the Legislature's time will be spent in idle chatter over bills might not even be able to become effective or operative. It is quite possible that because of this delay in presenting his budget, the Governor may keep the first session of the 106th General Assembly in Nashville until well into June, or maybe even later.

Secondly, if the Governor feels compelled not to introduce a budget proposal for another month and a half, why deliver the State of the State Address now when, by Bredesen's own admission, he really isn't certain about the overall state of the State. Why not wait and deliver the message along wth the budget in late March?

Of course that would actually make sense, and the Governor seems to be lacking in this critical skill of governance.

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