Tennessee, like many states, is currently facing projected revenues below projected expenses. This obviously creates an economic challenge.
Prioritize state needs.
Some state programs are very nice to have, but in critical budget times they are just unaffordable. No one wants to eagerly cut or eliminate his/her personal project. We need to have someone in office who can objectively look at the cost benefit significance of each plan. Once the cost benefits have been analyzed, somebody has to make the tough decisions that is best for Tennessee.
Eliminate ineffective and inefficient programs. We have some state programs that are well intentioned but have been around for such a long period of time that the original need is no longer an issue. These programs need to be evaluated in light of their relevance to the current citizens of Tennessee. Many times these programs can be administered more effectively through the use of the private business sector. We have found that many of our Churches and non-profit organizations are able to meet some of the needs of our citizens in a more cost efficient way than the government.
Bonus for cost savings for state employees.
The state has many intelligent, hard-working employees who know ways of doing their jobs more efficiently. Sometimes, however, they have a hard time finding ways to implement those improvements. We need an easier way for state employees to bring these ideas forward. Once the ideas are implemented, the employee(s) who initiated these cost-saving solutions should be rewarded with a bonus. The bonus should be based on actual dollar amount that the state saved in its first year.
No State Income Tax.
Another way to say that is: NO STATE INCOME TAX!
Perhaps instead of laying off state employees, we can devise a program through which work hours are reduced. This could save the state unemployment compensation as well as keeping as many citizens working as possible.
Instead of constantly rewarding those who choose not to work we should encourage them to join the workforce and take responsibility for themselves and their families. Helping people in their time of need is not the same as providing for them for a lifetime. For those who receiving government assistance, such as WIC, Food stamps, and/or disability, periodic drug tests should be required. If people are capable of purchasing drugs, they are capable of buying food to provide for themselves and their families.