Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Tennessee Republicans Drawing a Line in the Sand over Eliminating the Food Tax?

It's nice to see that the GOP-led Tennessee Senate is finally fighting back against the the spending tyranny of Governor Phil Bredesen. Bredesen introduced his latest budget yesterday, one that would increase state spending by over $1 billion - that's billion with a "b."

Today's story on the matter in the KNS shows the frustration that Bredesen is having now that Tennessee Republicans feel emboldened to fight his proposals and not walk them through the legislative process like they have done previously (for instance, as was done with the Pre-K debacle).

It's amazing to read how Bredesen doesn't see the money that we Tennesseans spend on food that is taxed as "our money." No, it's "revenue" to Yankee Phil, even before you spend it. So, basically, that money that you are carrying around in your wallet really isn't yours in the Governor's eyes. At least a portion of it is already the State's. Gee, that's nice.

One part of today's story that immediately interested me was Tom Humphrey's report that 16 of the 17 GOP Senators had signed on as co-sponsors of Senator Mae Beavers' bill that reduces the food tax by 0.5% per year for each of the next 12 years, which eventually phases the tax out of the system. (Yes, that process is a bit of a compromise, but it would have to be in order to get through Naifeh's House, so I do applaud Mae's bill.)

But the story didn't say which senator had not signed on as a co-sponsor. So, thanks to the new legislative website, I looked it up. I guess I expected Senator Mike Williams to be the lone holdout, but I was wrong. It's Shelby County's Paul Stanley. If Stanley is for the bill (and for his sake I would hope so, given the heavily Republican district he represents), then a united GOP caucus in the Senate is something that Bredesen should be worried about.

Finally, I love how Yankee Phil characterizes tax cuts as "voodoo." Apparently, the Governor only sees the natural order of things being government becoming bigger and fatter, and the conservative mantra of smaller government and putting more money back into the pockets of the citizens who earn it as supernatural or "black magic."

If eliminating taxes and keeping money with the citizens instead of the bloated bureaucracy is "voodoo," then just indoctrinate me as a witch doctor, because I would rather be that than a Tennessee Governor bent on putting the finances of the government before the finances of the people she is supposed to serve.

MORE: Ben Cunningham and A.C. at Volunteer Voters weigh in on Yankee Phil's bizarre allegation that this is somehow about instituting an income tax. Ben's remark:

"We may have to order extra meds for some of our elected officials."

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