by Joe Kirkpatrick
Hellooooooo!!! The economy is probably at the worst point it has ever been in my lifetime. The unemployment rate is the highest it has been in years, home foreclosures are at an all time high, as are car repossessions. Grocery prices have had their one year biggest gain ever, and TVA has raised electricity twenty percent.
Furthermore, many families who haven't lost their home yet, are hanging by a thread, very close to doing so. Personal bankruptcies, which have declined over the past two years because of more strict laws, are now rising again very rapidly.
Amongst all of this, the Cleveland City Council has the utter gall to propose a sales tax increase, mainly for the purpose of financing a $12 million science wing at Cleveland High School.
Of course, their main excuse was if they don't do it, the state of Tennessee will, giving the state the bulk of the increase instead of them.
If you read my column regularly, you know I am a big fan of Governor Bredesen. He is a great financial conservative, as well as someone who actually shows common sense in running a government.
In the November 12, 2008 Chattanooga Times Free Press, a article was titled "Cleveland moves toward vote on sales tax." In the article, it is stated "council members say they want to fend off a potential tax loss if the cash strapped legislature raises the state sales tax."
However, on page one of the same paper, a story appears titled, "State budget fix not to be found with tax increase." In that article, by Matt Wilson, it is stated: "The painful action that Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen said state officials may have to take to stem a possible $800 million short-fall should not include a tax increase, Chattanooga-area lawmakers said." The article goes on to quote several lawmakers from both parties supporting the governor's statement.
In previous statements concerning the economy, Governor Bredesen has stated more than likely services, road projects, and hiring will need to be cut during this economic crisis. He has once again taken a responsible and common sense approach to a dire economic problem.
Maybe Cleveland High School needs a science wing. I know people who need a decent car. I know people who have lost their homes. I know people who need a job. I know a lot of people who are having financial problems who have never had them before.
Just because we want and need something, does that mean we are going to get it?
In these times, government can tighten it's belt and conserve, just like so many hurting people are having to do, until economic times get better.
We do not need a tax increase - sales tax, property tax, wheel tax.
Learn to live within your means just like the people in your districts are having to.