The $18,000 information
The Tennessee General Assembly is debating, among many other things, an amendment to the State Constitution that puts the idea that there will be no income tax in Tennessee in extremely clear language that no one could ever dispute in the future. It’s a great idea that has been introduced by Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown). Kelsey, however, also thinks reporting procedures for the amendment are an issue because they cost too much money.
Even more importantly than the digital divide, however, is the reality that those in this State who support an income tax will do everything they can to stop this amendment from coming to a free vote of the people because they know that it will pass and likely in an overwhelming fashion. If the text of the proposed anti-income tax amendment is not printed in the State’s major metropolitan newspapers, income tax supporters will almost certainly sue to keep the amendment off the ballot. Senator Kelsey and other amendment supporters might eventually win that case, but when one considers how long it can take such a case to wind its way through the court system, it may be too late to vote on the amendment in a timely fashion, and Tennesseans may not get to ratify until 2018 at the earliest, since the Tennessee Constitution requires that two separate General Assemblies accept a constitutional amendment,the second time by two-thirds votes in both Houses, before the public can have their vote-which must coincide with a gubernatorial election. While the present political climate would allow for the Kelsey Amendment to pass a referendum easily, no one can predict what the political situation might be many years down the road.
Brian Kelsey is one of the most genuinely conservative people you will ever meet, and he lives his conservative ideas every day, ask anyone who has ever met or knows him (and I do). However, he should put his strict opposition of reporting customs into perspective. $18,000 is a very small price to pay to make sure that the maximum number of Tennesseans have the opportunity to read the full text of Kelsey’s proposed amendment -and no, that doesn’t necessarily mean that people will read it, but they should be given the opportunity.
To avoid a needless lawsuit that opponents of limited government could use to delay the referendum on an amendment if the legislature should pass it, $18,000 is a small price to pay so that the people can be heard.