Gov. Phil Bredesen is keeping his head firmly planted in the sand as the state’s sales tax collections go south. He sees the whole mess as merely a little mental gymnastics to entertain himself, like working a Sudoku puzzle while Andrea reads the Sunday Times
“I can see my way pretty clearly just with executive actions to save another $300 million or so this year,” he tells the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Brian Miller of Tennesseans for Fair Taxation states the obvious: “What we do know is that the sales tax and our current tax system has been failing us for decades even in good economic times.”
Economist Stan Chervin with the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations notes that Bredesen will leave the next governor with a load of unmet needs. “Who would want to be stuck with that?” he asks.
University of Tennessee economist Bill Fox points out for the umpteenth time the big problem with relying on the sales tax. It’s not very stable. (It’s also unfair, but we won’t go into that.)
Nonetheless, Gov. Bredesen doesn’t see any need to alter Tennessee’s tax structure.
“I don’t think the tax structure really has that much to do with this sort of thing,” he said. “What we have to do is to learn how to manage through the ups and downs.”
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? I guess this kind of idiocy out of Bredesen should stop surprising me. But I keep hoping he's going to snap out of it somehow. You’d think Bredesen, facing no political risk anymore, could tell the truth about the state’s tax system.