Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Burnin' Down the House

Perhaps I'm just crazy, but it occurs to me that the priorities of some of our friends in the party opposite are really quite skewed...

Most of them (and a few Republicans) are going to vote for a budget either today or tomorrow which they know contains projects within it that the State cannot afford, and which will be funded in the short-term by federal stimulus money (which isn't stimulating) but must be paid for by the State in the end. The Governor's answer to this problem is to create debt through the sale of bonds instead of paying as we go along according to need. In a non-income tax State, that is a recipe for fiscal disaster. Further, once the State becomes attached to bonding as a way of doing business, the State will keep doing it. It can be argued that this kind of funding violates the constitutional requirement that the General Assembly submit a balanced budget(though I admit this is a loose legal argument). Once the State begins this funding method, Tennessee will never be free of debt and the budget may never be truly balanced again. It seems as though the bonding scheme is designed to conveniently create a need for an income tax.

Meanwhile, some of them are trying to push a bill that would require volunteer firefighters to have the same training as those in full-time paid departments-at the firefighters' expense. As a member of a volunteer department, I know that the department isn't going to require members to pay for required training out of their own pockets, and so do those Democrats backed by the firefighters' union that support this measure. They understand that either departments will pay from their fundraising budget or small towns will pay for the training from their general fund. It could bankrupt volunteer departments and leave most of the rural areas of our State without adequate fire coverage, and those who do have it will pay an arm and a leg for it.

Democrats will give you bridges, roads, and "stimulus" projects, but pass debt to your children and let your house burn down. Happy Days Are Here Again!

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