OK, I'm confused. Before Christmas, Gov. Phil Bredesen was relatively positive about the state budget.
Barack Obama's impending federal stimulus package probably would mean the state could escape big cutbacks. He said only "selective layoffs" might be required, maybe none at all.
"We actually could end up with a decent year," the governor told
reporters then in a surprisingly upbeat report. "There will be budget cuts everywhere, but it could be 6
or 7 or 8 percent, and there you're not talking about layoffs anymore.
You're not talking about closing down major programs or something like
But today, in a series of one-on-one interviews with media outlets, he did an about-face,
saying 2,000 workers could wind up hitting the bricks. So here is my question: What changed? Maybe it's the resistance he's facing
from the state employees union over civil service rule changes he wants the legislature to enact right now.
"Don't let our governor take drastic steps and change laws on a whim
just so he does not have to be hampered by the democratic process,"
TSEA officials said in a news release this week. "TSEA is not
asking to tie the governor's hands. We simply want him to work within
the laws that protect our state employees and its citizens."
In today's interviews, the governor assured reporters there would be fewer layoffs if his civil service changes go through. Sounds like Bredesen is trying to strong-arm the TSEA. He wouldn't do that, would he?