August 21, 2003

RANDOM CALIFORNIA-RELATED THOUGHT: Everyone running in the California recall might profitably take a look at Tennessee’s Democratic Governor, Phil Bredesen. Bredesen is balancing the budget without raising taxes (in fact, Tennessee, which has no income tax, is in surplus), and is popular not only with Democrats, but with a lot of pretty hard-core Republicans too. His secret: He’s honest, and does what he says he’ll do.

I know it’s crazy, but it just might work!

UPDATE: Bill Hobbs notes that the surplus hasn’t gotten much attention.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Hey, here’s an article in The Economist on Bredesen. It’s subscriber only, but an excerpt follows:

With the unpopular Mr Sundquist term-limited, the governor’s chair was open to anyone brave enough to take on Tennessee’s fiscal mess. And Mr Bredesen was well-positioned. He had built a reputation of fiscal conservatism and economic development during eight years as mayor of Nashville, where he cut deals to bring a Dell computer factory and professional football and hockey teams to the city. And he promised no income tax.

He took a decidedly managerial approach to cutting state spending, calling for 9% cuts in every department and asking each commissioner to present a list of proposed cuts in a public forum. His first budget, which has just gone into effect, is only 4.1% larger than the 2002-03 budget, which was, by contrast, nearly 7% larger than the year before’s. But Tennessee is starting the new fiscal year with a tiny surplus.

Democrats elsewhere, take note.

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