No One Speaks the TruthThe Knoxville News-Sentinel editorial board shows that either they just don't understand the gravity of Tennessee's budget problem or, like most of the mainstream press, they choose to ignore it:
This budget is far better than either the Governor's original version or the Democrats' House version, but its heavy reliance upon bonds still passes much of the burden to the next generation. This budget was passed for one reason only, and that is to avoid the political specter of a government shutdown on July 1st. It is still a terrible budget, and that is a reality that nearly everyone admits.
The final budget proposal sailed through both houses, passing 85-12 in the House and 31-1 in the Senate. Gov. Phil Bredesen is expected to sign the measure.
The two houses reached a compromise on the $350 million bond issue for bridge construction and replacement that had been scrapped by the Senate. One-fourth of the amount of the bonds will be issued in the 2009-10 budget and one-fourth in each of the next three years.
The Senate also called for about $100 million in accelerated cuts. That also generated a compromise, with the figure reduced to $55 million and the cuts being identified as impoundments, which could be re-funded if revenue collections surpass expectations.
No one in the press is talking about next year's budget, or the year after that, because they know that the choice is likely to be that this State bonds itself into permanent debt, or we make the cuts that needed to be made this year-but at twice the rate and with twice the impact. Either choice is bad, and all because of the political consequences of doing what needed to be done this year.
Phil Bredesen doesn't care, because as we begin to deal with the worst of this crisis, he will be gone, and hopes history lays the blame on his successor instead of him and his insistence on fiscal irresponsibility.
Labels: Tennessee politics