In this week's hard copy, Woods eloborates in exhaustive detail what Dean's only real options are (I'll take what's behind door #2, Monte, and let the Tennessee Tax Revolt go to hell both for the saddle they strapped on Nashville in 2006 and for their damned silence now on adequate solutions to our pending budget crisis). His conclusion is ominous:
Just about everyone familiar with the city's finances figures a tax hike will be needed next year to avoid some serious slashing of spending ....
Dean did say during last year's election campaign that he wouldn't raise taxes as mayor. But breaking that promise is inevitable. With the kinds of comments he's making, he'll eventually damage his credibility with voters, and he's going to need it. When the time for the tax increase arrives, he'll have to mount a big campaign to persuade the public that the city needs more money. Then, how's he going to explain away all those times he said the government could manage its way out of trouble?
Dean’s ﬁrst budget cuts haven’t caused much anguish. Likely few, if any, of the workers targeted for layoffs will wind up on the street; almost all of them will ﬁll vacant positions elsewhere in the government. The transit authority is probably going to cut bus routes and raise fares, and public works won’t make quite as many trips into your neighborhood to chop up your fallen tree limbs. Otherwise, the public won’t much notice.
But the mayor is fooling himself—and the public—if he thinks this budget year is as hard as it’s going to get. This is the easy part.