Priorities Anyone?Out comes The Tennessean with the news that the State of Tennessee is going to cut 1,400 jobs (which the Governor is expected to announce momentarily). Further, the jobs being cut are, as expected, mostly in an area of the budget that will impact people who are not really in a position to better their situation:
As many as 717 workers could receive layoff notices by June 30 of next year, with three-quarters of them coming in the state departments that serve people with mental illness or mental retardation. The Bredesen administration also called for eliminating 656 vacant positions statewide.
That sounds bad, and indeed it is. What is worse, however, is the size of the overall State payroll:
Tennessee employs about 50,000 state workers, not including higher education employees, with a payroll of nearly $3 billion.
Throw higher education into the mix, and the cost really mushrooms. It seems that we may be dealing with a case of confused priorities when the Governor and his lackey Dave Goetz are talking about cutting a combined 617 jobs from those departments which serve our most vulnerable citizens (those who are too old, sickly, or disabled to work), but only 66 jobs will be cut from all other departments of State government. Further, there is no sign that legislative Democrats are willing to accept the equalization proposal that I put forward yesterday.
That isn't to say that no jobs need to be cut from departments that serve disabled people. There is always waste and mismanagement to be found anywhere in government, and it should be rooted out. Note, however, that only 23 jobs are being cut at Environment and Conservation and a whopping 21 from Finance and Administration and Revenue, three of the biggest reposititories of bureaucratic incompetence in State Government. Those departments, however, are near and dear to Dave Goetz, so don't expect to see them make any major cuts.
Meanwhile, the Governor vetoed the "guns in restaurants" bill today, a veto which may be overridden.