Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Tax Revolt "Stunt" Or Merely A Stunted Tax Revolt?

Lately I have agreed with very little that Governor Bredesen has had to say, but when he called the Tennessee Tax Revolt's staged histrionics at the Capitol a "stunt," truer words were never spoken about the anti-revenue lobby group.

Or perhaps the Governor was too charitable in his description. TTR's tax pledge is actually just stunted itself. Don't forget:
  1. TTR made a big hairy deal before the Metro budget debate this year about Metro Council members signing their pledge not to raise taxes.
  2. One member signed it.
  3. That member caved in the end and supported a tax increase alternative to the Mayor's tax increase at the end of June.
  4. TTR founder and talking head Ben Cunningham made excuses for that member to the mainstream media rather than holding him publicly accountable for breaking his word and for signing a contract and not living up to his end of the bargain.
I think that I've been too absolutist in my beliefs about TTR. Their poor showing during Metro's budget debate exposed them as very accommodating to their friends, even as they make political hay of their opponents; and when all was said and done, signing or not signing the no tax pledge never mattered. TTR never followed up after the council vote, unless making excuses counts as follow-up.
So, let's be crystal clear: the no tax pledge is just a tool that is packaged to increase TTR's sphere of influence. No one who is a TTR supporter in the legislature is really going to be held accountable.
When Ben Cunningham stood in front of all that mainstream media at Capitol Hill on Tuesday, trotting out another no tax pledge and demanding a response, he also had a proverbial get-out-of-jail-free card in his back pocket, which remains reserved for TTR friends. The pledge is immaterial. It's a diversion. Don't let them fool you, else you'll be reading somewhere next year that one or all of those Republican legislators standing with TTR on Tuesday actually voted for a tax increase. And it won't matter that they did, because TTR takes care of its friends.


  1. s-townMike,

    Okay, I read your entire post as you suggested, and I am sticking to my assertions. I can tell that you don't know a great deal about TTR, how it came into being, and what motivates us. So -- mano-a-mano -- it seems that your hostility toward TTR and those associated with it is nothing more than sour grapes over having lost the income tax war.


  2. Let's start with that last bit first, because it says something about you. It says that you know very little about me. I've never signed up for a hitch in the income tax war, so I could not possibly be tasting sour grapes as you presume to claim. It also says to me that you jump to speculate based on very little evidence.

    You can stick to your assertions all you like. TTR refused to hold a councilmember who signed the no tax pledge accountable when he chose to support a tax increase. If it looks like political opportunism and smells like political opportunism, it's probably not the high ideals TTR supporters like yourself claim.