Tonight the caucus got together and started to talk brass tacks on the budget. So far it is looking like we are going to be able to cut a lot of what the governor wants to spend on and keep from having to increase taxes as much.
The bond package is looking dead. That will save tens of millions in debt and interest. we will remove the tax increase implementation on cable boxes. The fonce tax increase is looking to be cut if not eliminated. It is already down to out of state owners and properties larger then quadplexes. The money the gov wanted to spend on pre K from the general fund will now be coming out of lottery reserve funds instead.
We started to brainstorm on other ideas to save the state money.
In no order some of my favorites are...
1. Sell, lease or close all the state golf courses that are not making money. $2.3 million. I hear one is planning a major renovation that will put it deeper in the red.
2. Stop construction on the party bunker until more money comes it. Some people suggested to just fill it in with dirt. Cant say I really against the idea much.
3. Cut funding for the arts and non profits and planned parenthood. About $8 million there. I like the arts but if it quality it will be able to stand on its own.
4. Cut funding for the study of earthquakes. that is over a million dollars in state money alone a year. They have been studying them for going on 30 years. I think we know enough for now.
5. Freeze all non emergency travel.
6. Opt out of the federal highway gas tax. It is optional and if we opt out and keep the gas tax at its current level the state will have more money then what it gets from the fed.
7. This one I must say is about my favorite. Just off the 10th amendment resolution several of us have been talking about how we give money to the fed we don't need to give them. They are only entitled to money from products made in Tennessee but sold outside of Tennessee.
We currently also give the fed money on some things even if it is made and sold inside Tennessee. Many of us think because of the 9th and 10 amendment they aren't entitled to it.
We are looking into the legality of saying a wide variety of items that the fed taxes should have the locally sold percent held back. Items such as alcohol (Can you say Jack Danial's, George Dickle, etc.) Tobacco and guns that are manufactured and sold in Tennessee are just a few of the items we came up with off the top of our heads. If they are made and sold in Tennessee then why are we giving the fed money for it?
If we were to keep part of the money for just the percent that is sold in Tennessee we could be talking millions upon millions. The fed may squawk but I want to see them argue against the constitution.