“I’ve got an awful lot of bright people in my district,” says one council member, “but none of them reads the budget proposal because it’s the size of a phone book. As council members, we go through three months of hearings with 55 departments and make some tough calls. But voters are going to show up at the polls and push ‘no’ [to a tax increase] and not have the slightest idea what that means. Fifteen years from now, we’ll be living in a city with no police protection, no fire protection, crumbled sidewalks and a school system that’s 10 times worse than it already is, and people are going to be wondering what went wrong.”What a self-defeating boondoggle that Charter amendment looks to be.
Future egg-layers might include the possibility of giving special interest groups enough of a financial and/or political stake in police protection, fire protection, sidewalks and the school system to leverage their supporters to vote for tax increases. Making those groups the primary stakeholders in the budget process encourages cronyism and discourages the widest possible constructive effects for the most number of Nashvillians.