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Business, Free Enterprise and Constitutional Issues; Pro-Life and Pro Second Amendment. Susan Lynn is a member of the Tennessee General Assembly. She serves as Chairman of the Consumer and Human Resources subcommittee and on the Finance Ways and Means Committee. She holds a BS in economics and a minor in history.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

State Budget | Elam Mailer | Bustin' the Cap!

I would like to thank Ms. Elam – because while trying to make a point in her mailer about the growth of the state budget while I was in office (her statement is that the state budget grew by $10 billion dollars) I can once again show that her statement is not only false but that she voted to break a very important constitutional provision which restricts the growth of the state budget.    

When I came into office the state budget was $9.8 billion– when I left eight years later it was $12.1 billion – hardly $10 billion. 

The amount of federal pass through dollars that Tennessee Received did grow considerably – they went from $7.4 billion to $12.9 billion – but these are mandated federal programs over which a state legislator has little to no control.

Now, please keep reading as I detail for you Ms. Elam's vote to overspend our state budget by $250,000,000 in just her first year in office.

States have a Constitutional mandate to balance their budgets including Tennessee – states cannot deficit spend.

An additional protection in Tennessee is a Constitutional provision called the Copeland Cap – named for Representative David Copeland who proposed it. 

The Cap restricts the rate of growth of the state budget to the rate of the state’s economic growth – also known as the rate of personal income growth. 

Therefore, constitutionally, the budget cannot grow faster than our collective household income or budget. 

Tennessee Constitution, Article 2, Section 24:
No public money shall be expended except pursuant to appropriations made by law. Expenditures for any fiscal year shall not exceed the state’s revenues and reserves, including the proceeds of any debt obligation, for that year. No debt obligation, except as shall be repaid within the fiscal year of issuance, shall be authorized for the current operation of any state service or program, nor shall the proceeds of any debt obligation be expended for a purpose other than that for which it was authorized. 

In no year shall the rate of growth of appropriations from state tax revenues exceed the estimated rate of growth of the state’s economy as determined by law. 

No appropriation in excess of this limitation shall be made unless the General Assembly shall, by law containing no other subject matter, set forth the dollar amount and the rate by which the limit will be exceeded.
Any law requiring the expenditure of state funds shall be null and void unless, during the session in which the act receives final passage, an appropriation is made for the estimated first year’s funding. No law of general application shall impose increased expenditure requirements on cities or counties unless the General Assembly shall provide that the state share in the cost. An accurate financial statement of the state’s fiscal condition shall be published annually.

I was in the General Assembly during years of firm Democrat Control (2002-2010).  I voted for four out of eight budgets.

The truth is the state budget largely grew so much due to federal funds and mandates – the federal spending that we all detest so much.  States administer many of those federal programs.  It did not grow because of anything I did.  That is why Ms. Elam doesn’t name one bill that I may have sponsored that could have produced $10 billion dollars of growth in the state budget. 

I voted for four out of eight budgets - they were were all balanced, responsible budgets that helped our district and sent your tax dollars back to us for things like the construction of Mount Juliet Road, the SR 109 widening, the road construction in the Providence area, building a new SR 109 bridge and the money to design and acquire the right of way for SR 109 N.   Those budgets also funded our local schools and state colleges, gave grants to police and fire for emergency equipment. 

The Copeland Cap that I told you about – unfortunately it can be broken – we called it “Busting the Cap”.  The state budget is prepared on estimates of tax revenues.  If at the end of the year, the revenue exceeds the estimates on which the budget was prepared the General Assembly can vote to spend that money anyway – exceeding the rate of growth of your income.  This happens routinely in the Legislature.  However, I always voted NO – not to bust the Copeland Cap; such unbalanced growth cannot be supported by the incomes of Tennesseans. 

However, my opponent, Ms. Elam in only her first year in the General Assembly voted Aye to “Bust the Cap” further burdening you.  The raid allowed excess spending of up to $250,000,000.

HB2136 - Authorizes the index of appropriations from state tax revenues for 2010-2011 fiscal year to exceed the index of estimated growth in the state's economy by $250 million or 2.15 percent.

Ladies and gentlemen – Ms. Elam is simply intellectually dishonest - she voted to break a constitutional provision and exceed spending by $250 million.  Her dismal record on ethics, her lack of responsiveness to you the voter and horrendous political antics should be enough - not just including what she is saying about me but what she did to you by her arrogant refusal to resign one of her offices when 87% of Mount Juliet voters decided that they did not want their elected officials to hold duel offices - and then using city funds to sue you the voters to stay in office is unjustifiable. 

Please watch a video of me and the State Treasurer - we were under Democrat control at this time and the Democrats typically tore us up for asking such questions.  I tried to prevent that attack by being reserved and professional - they let me fully ask my questions:

I refused to break the Copeland Cap each and each and every year I was in office.  Ms. Elam broke this cap in her very first year in office.

We need mature and professional people to serve in office - not politicians who try to deceive you to get your vote - isn't that the problem we have in Washington? 

Please recall that I served you ethically and honorably for eight years and again, I humbly ask for the honor of your vote in the Republican Primary on August 2.

Learn more: www.susanlynn.net/Mailers.html

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