Kentucky Begins Hostile Takeover of Tennessee 

Kentucky Begins Hostile Takeover of Tennessee

Kentucky Begins Hostile Takeover of Tennessee

Tennessee’s deep and continuing budgetary woes have left the state in such a weakened financial condition that Kentucky officials are covertly plotting a hostile takeover, sources say.

A spokesman for Kentucky Gov. Paul Patton won’t comment specifically on any proposed coup d’état of the Volunteer State but says that, “As always, the governor, on behalf of all Kentuckians, is keeping his options open as far as financial opportunities, and that includes keeping an eye on the finances of adjoining states.”

Kentucky is thought to be especially interested in Tennessee because Tennesseans already fund about 15 percent of the Bluegrass State’s budget through purchases of lottery tickets and shopping forays to avoid Tennessee’s high sales tax.

“Tennesseans already fund so much of Kentucky’s government that they may as well benefit from it,” says a pro-takeover source at the state house in Frankfort.

The only model for the hostile takeover of one state by another came in the late 1970s when South Dakota took over most state services for its sister state of North Dakota. North Dakota nominally kept its status as a separate state, but the Dakotas elect only one governor and state Legislature, and combined state services saved so much money that the arrangement has been wildly popular in both Dakotas.

It’s unclear whether Tennesseans would save any money as part of Kentucky. “I’m sure Kentucky would love to be able to claim the Great Smoky Mountains and the Grand Ole Opry and Graceland, but I don’t think Tennesseans would react well to becoming an appendage of Kentucky,” says one Nashville political observer.

“But on the positive side, Kentucky has both a lottery and an income tax, so that would pretty much eliminate the need for 95 percent of the arguments in the state Legislature.”


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