Thursday, 2 January 2003

Fisking the Tennessean

Bill Hobbs is kind enough to pass along this Fisking of the Nashville Tennessean's lead editorial. Choice quote:

A stab at honesty: “tax reform” = “income tax” in Tennessee media and government language. California’s total 2002 revenues from taxes and licenses were $12.9 billion lower than their revenues for 2001. Personal income tax collections were $11.5 billion lower and corporate income tax collections were $1.4 billion lower, accounting for every bit of the total revenue reduction. Sales tax and other collections were up slightly, offset by those that were down. But the income tax is California’s primary revenue source, accounting for 67% in 2001 and 61% in 2002. Tennessee can equal California’s “performance” with the healthy dose of stupidity required to implement “tax reform”.

Well, in fairness, in Tennessee “tax reform” also means “divert gas tax money to the general fund.” TDOT may not be a paragon of government efficiency, but I don't think there's anyone outside the Sierra Club who thinks Tennessee spends too much on highway construction and maintenance. You can argue with the allocation of those resources — Mississippi has done far better in a similar time frame with less money to build an efficient four-lane network.

More to the point, though, Tennessee's taxpayers don't trust the state government to spend their money wisely or run their affairs properly. The mismanagement of TennCare, blatant legislative gerrymandering in urban areas, and the rank ineffectiveness of the Republican caucus hardly inspire confidence among the electorate.