Friday, May 01, 2009

We've Got Sunshine On a Cloudy Day, Waitin' On a Budget In the Month of May

The Tennessean and many liberals in the blogosphere have taken to criticizing the Republican Leadership in the House and Senate for pushing through a great many gun bills and concerning themselves with legislation such as Rep. Frank Niceley's bill that would allow farmers to sell raw milk directly to consumers with a prescription. Gun bills and farm legislation are not the only bills on the Republican agenda that now see the light of day with increased Republican numbers, of course, but it is curious to note how the Republican agenda, from gun bills to agriculture bills to SJR 127 is painted by both the press and the Left as somehow a waste of time while bills designed to promote a liberal agenda are "progressive" and "forward-thinking."

People want to know why the House is spending so much time on these agenda bills...isn't there a budget to pass?

There should be, and if there were I'd bet the ranch that Representatives and Senators both would be beating down the doors to pass the budget and go home. There is as yet no budget because Slow Poke Phil has yet to submit a final version, and the speculation seems to be that he is waiting in vain to see if he can somehow get the votes for the General Assembly to pass a bond issue so that he can spend like gangbusters. Tennessee has always been a pay-as-you-go fiscal State, and that is one of the reasons that even in the worst economic times, we tend to remain in sound fiscal condition. Of all people, Governor Bredesen is most aware of this because he has discussed it in past State of the State addresses. The Governor will not get the votes that he needs to do as he pleases with our money and our budget, so he is attempting to browbeat the General Assembly into submission by causing them to wait on him until the parousia.

Rather than waste the public's time by sitting up at the Capitol doing nothing while the Governor plays tiddlywinks, a few legislators have decided that they are going to use the time constructively by actually working to pass some bills, most of which never saw the light of day under the previous House Leadership. If the Governor wants to wait forever to submit a budget, the Legislature doesn't have to sit around and do nothing. Instead, many conservative leaders can start working toward the change they've dreamed of in this State for years while Phil stands by and watches.

Meanwhile, Democrats are annoyed with Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey for stating the obvious-that federal "stimulus" money will only mask our State budget problems, not solve them:

Deeper Tennessee spending cuts may need to come sooner than originally planned because of worsening economic conditions, Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey said Thursday.

The Blountville Republican said he's also concerned about Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen's plan to use federal stimulus money to ease the severity of cuts.

"I honestly believe in some cases the stimulus package is going to make things worse, because it does mask the problem," Ramsey said.

Now I am reminded why it is that I support Ron Ramsey for Governor-because in spite of what disagreements I might have with him, the man is in touch with reality. Many Democrats want to treat this federal money as though it is some panacea that will solve our budgetary problems. The President himself believes this, while admitting that he is moving to run up the deficit to a whopping $9.3 trillion by the end of the decade.

The problem is that whether it is sooner or later, eventually the "stimulus" money isn't going to be there anymore, so if we grow to rely on it-as the Democrats would have us do-what shall we do when it is gone? Pretending the inevitable will not happen is apparently an official policy of the Tennessee Democratic Party.

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At Tuesday, May 05, 2009 1:08:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


There's noting in the law that says that Ron Ramsey can't put together a budget that he's like to see passed and present it to the legislature for consideration. All he has to do is find a house sponsor and introduce it.

Fact is, there's just not that much room to cut - not anymore. If Ramsey wants to eliminate TennCare, he probably has the votes to do it. If he wants to cut back on road construction, he probably has the votes to do it. More than likely, any cut that he proposes, he could probably get passed - but he won't say how he'd like the budget to look, that would cause him to have to take a stand on something. The one thing I have learned from watching Ron Ramsey is that he apparently has no principle so dear to him that he won't abandon it the first chance he gets.

Honestly, what principled stand has he taken since he became speaker. I can't think of one - and if you can help me, I'd be appreciative, but I'd also be surprised.


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