Sunday, August 07, 2005

Jabbermeisters, Politicians & Pens

Tennessean columnist Larry Daughtrey's Sunday column seems to maintain that an income tax is not ever going to happen and any attempt at making legislators commit to that is a waste of effort and worse, just a cheap way to raise radio ratings and ensure job security for talkers and their staff. I'm all for making legislators put things in writing for all to see and for accountability purposes later on when, for some reason, they changed their minds. Despite the state Supreme Court ruling an income tax unconstitutional they've made several attempts and I've no doubt they'll attempt it again.

But back to Mr. Daughtrey's column: I couldn't help but drop my jaw at the odd phrase he used at the end of his essay. It does seem to me that this is part of the problem.

Members of the legislature take an oath to "vote without favor, affection, partiality or prejudice" to promote the welfare of the state.

Actually Article X Section 2 of the Tennessee Constitution says the oath shall be:

"I ______ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that as a member of this General Assembly, I will, in all appointments, vote without favor, affection, partiality, or prejudice; and that I will not propose or assent to any bill, vote or resolution, which shall appear to me injurious to the people, or consent to any act or thing, whatever, that shall have a tendency to lessen or abridge their rights and prvileges, as declared by the Constitution of this state."

Mr. Daughtrey is mistaken--their job is not 'to promote the welfare of the state' it's to avoid injuring the people foremost. Too often politicians think it's their job to protect the government. If it takes signing on the dotted line to remind them why they're in Nashville--bring on the pens.

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