State of the State
In the lead-up to tonight’s State of the State message, some of Tennessee’s mainstream news media have been treating the Governor’s budget proposal as though it would be the final word.
A Governor in Tennessee has a fruitless power of veto, one where his or her objection to final legislation can be overridden by a simple majority. In very practical terms, that means that the Governor already knows that it is in his best interest to present a budget which a large Republican majority in a conservative Legislature is going to find to be acceptable. If he does not, that majority is liable to present a final budget in turn that is to their liking, and they have the ability to tell the Governor that they will pass what they like and there isn’t a thing he can do about it.
Whatever happens to the budget from this point forward, it is wrong for the press to treat what the Governor presents to be the finished product. Healthy Republican majorities in both Houses of the General Assembly will likely mean that a budget could pass more quickly and the Legislature adjourn more swiftly, but not that members will simply pass what is presented and go home.