Skip to comments.Tennessee Government in Partial Shutdown
Posted on 07/01/2002 9:24:28 AM PDT by RCW2001
NASHVILLE, Tenn. July 1 Tennesseans awoke Monday to find their government in a partial shutdown after lawmakers failed to pass a balanced budget over the weekend in a stalemate over how to cover an $800 million deficit.
New Jersey, meanwhile, avoided a shutdown when Gov. James E. McGreevey signed a $23.4 billion state budget early Monday morning. The governor ordered the Senate to return later this week to vote on his corporate tax plan, which he needs to balance the spending plan as state law requires.
In Tennessee, the House and Senate gave Gov. Don Sundquist power to keep essential services such as highway patrol and prisons funded through Friday while they continued to negotiate.
"We've been at this four years. Every day we put it off, we do a little more damage to Tennessee families," Sundquist said. "We'll do everything we can to provide basic services for the health, security and welfare for the citizens of Tennessee" during this time.
Tennessee's balanced budget is required by its constitution.
Sundquist said he was discouraged that the Legislature had not made a decision on an income tax as a way to resolve the state's financial troubles, despite four regular and two special sessions. Tennessee is one of nine states without a broad-based personal income tax.
Reaction among state workers was quick and angry.
"It's not right," said Linda McCarty, executive director of the Tennessee State Employees Association. She said legislators were trying "to do one more trick and one more smoke and mirrors and make a few deals with a few rich people while the little people suffer."
Phil Brannon, dean of students at the state-funded high school called the York Institute, said he doesn't understand why there was a partial shutdown when the revenue problems have been around for at least three years.
"I'm disappointed in our Legislature because they're not taking care of the problem," Brannon said Monday morning.
Members of the state House were saying the same thing as they resumed their session late Monday morning. While there were floor speeches about the financial crisis, no action seemed likely before afternoon at the earliest.
"People think we're the most inept bunch that's ever served in this House," Rep. Les Winningham told his colleagues.
The shutdown did not begin at midnight, according to the Senate, which turned back the clock to 11:45 p.m. while it debated its next step. Eventually, members conceded the shutdown, keeping some 22,000 workers home this week.
Outside the Capitol, car horns blared and people shouted on bullhorns as more than 100 demonstrators for and against an income tax rallied and a knot of state troopers stood guard.
"I came out to support our school," said Melissa Hardimon, a Tennessee State University student from Peoria, Ill. "I wanted to make sure we still have a school to go to."
As part of the shutdown, the state's public universities will cancel or postpone summer classes until the state's finances are resolved.
During the shutdown, state government will be limited to such services as highway patrol, prisons, mental health, child support and health care for the poor and uninsured. Retirement benefits and employee health insurance will also be paid, but road construction will halt, and drivers licenses won't be issued.
Sundquist has the power to order expenditure of funds for things not in the bill as long as they protect public safety and welfare.
New Jersey would have seen a government shutdown only if its governor had not signed the budget by the start of business Monday.
But McGreevey said he was forced to freeze $1 billion of the state's new budget until his corporate tax was approved because the budget must be balanced.
"We will clean up this mess and we will get this done, but we need the corporate business tax plan as part of this solution," McGreevey said.
Connecticut also went down to the wire Sunday. Hours before the new fiscal year began, state senators approved a $13.2 billion budget that Democrats and Republicans agreed was far from perfect. Earlier in the day, the House had backed the plan, the first to raise taxes since 1991, the year the state income tax was enacted.
Several other states where the fiscal year began Monday wrapped up their budgets last week, including Pennsylvania, where Gov. Mark S. Schweiker signed a budget Saturday, and Delaware, where the budget was approved Tuesday.
California began a new fiscal year Monday without a state budget, but no immediate impact was expected there. State officials said the deadlock the 14th in the last 25 years wouldn't delay spending unless it drags on. Lawmakers have gone as late as Aug. 29 in recent years before passing a budget.
The spending plan fell five votes short Sunday night in the Assembly as Democrats accused the GOP of holding up the budget to try to defeat Democratic Gov. Gray Davis in November.
On the Net:
Tennessee state government: http://www.tnanytime.org
Politicians are like pigs feeding at the trough when it comes to tax money.
Now that is a good thing to wake up to on a Monday!
This is a more accurate statement.
I laughed. Alot.
That's a promise !! !!
It's a sure bet that his Tennessee State Boy Scout Group is on-hand for one thing.....to protect his and his throng's lousy hides !! !!
Several students, from TSU and others, made a showin' at the midnight rally, last evening. They spit on 'anti-tax' people as they were driving by....
...stood out in the street just to dare anyone to start something. But one of' em learned that wouldn't work as KentuckyWoman and I were making that loop (she was driving her 5-speed Cougar) as she raced that Turbo-Aided engine as she was driving towards one of these students. I'm fairly positive that he left skid marks on the asphalt as he bolted out from the middle of that road.
...grabbed signs as the cars went by...
..grabbed at and actually ripped my Culpeper Minuteman Flag off of the wooden pole that it was attached to....
I got out of the car to retreive my flag and attempted to have a conversation with the gentleman that ripped me off. For some strange reason I was informed that he "..had run off into and thru the crowd..." - more's the pity
Did the boys in the big round, brown, hats even lift a Tax-Payer Paid Finger to help keeps things in order?????
Let's see - I'll reply back here when I see that they've done the slightest thing to help the folks that are paying their salery....
Oh sure. Balance the budget on the backs of 1 out of 4. Sure, makes sense to ME! NOT!
There's nothing wrong with Tennessee right now that getting rid of Taxquist and Naifeh wouldn't solve.
And when people notice the sun will still rise, as usual, they may begin to wonder how many of these 22,000 were ever needed to begin with.
Spendquist who is so WORRIED about our shut down gubermint and the peon guberment workers took a large entourage of sycopants according to a caller to Steve Gill's show this mornin, to play golf at one of the State golf paradises which we paid for. They reserved the ENTIRE golf course for their play. Want to bet WE paid for his golf outing? .................
We paid a lot of money for Tennessee legislatures to travel to Conneticut to study how they were able to pass an income tax, and it seems the Tennessee legislatores are following their lesson plan.
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