Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tell lawmakers to tell Bredesen "no" on budget

State Democratic lawmakers have rightly balked at Gov. Phil Bredesen's hastily assembled state budget with cuts of 2,000 state workers and support to Tennesseans falling into poverty from mushrooming medical bills. Meanwhile, the governor has left intact a $100 million economic development fund. He believes no corporation should be left behind.

The plight of ordinary people has never been one of Bredesen's pressing interests. That's why it is so strange for him to claim to be a Democrat. It would be more believable if he claimed to be the 15th reincarnation of Kubla Khan. Earlier this year, Bredesen complained to a Philadelphia newspaper that he would have trouble selling a Democratic Party ticket headed by Barrack Obama or Hillary Clinton in Tennessee. With his kind of Democratic Party values, he'd have trouble selling a ticket headed by JFK or FDR.

Ordinary Tennesseans should use this weekend to lobby their lawmakers at churches, restaurants and public parks to tell the governor "no" on his budget cuts that will prey mostly on the working poor and the medically needy. If a special legislative session is needed on a new budget, then the govenor should be so informed.

The Rainy Day Fund has $750 million. That's plenty of money to cover the budget shortfall and still have most of the fund's revenue left over. Bredesen allowed that fund to build to that record level instead of giving the extra revenue back to taxpayers by removing the sales tax on food. Again, ordinary people are not his big interest. If the governor doesn't want to take so much from the Rainy Day Fund, he should give up his $100 million economic development fund of freebies to corporations.

Tell your lawmakers to refuse this cram-down budget. Tell your lawmakers not to rubber stamp another Bredesen boondoggle like the Metro council did for too many years.

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