cross-posted from the Tennessee Tenth Amendment Center

You are stealing Governor Bill Haslam’s money. And he’s not happy about it.  In fact, he’s downright upset about it.  After all, how can any self-respecting Tennessean be so selfish as to try to hold on to more than their fair share of the money the benevolent state and federal governments allow them to keep from their labors.

It’s a national tragedy that’s playing out in states all across the country.  In every state of the union, citizens are trying to keep too much money.  After all, it’s not even your money.  What you don’t understand is that all money belongs to the government.  See, this is how it really works:  you work hard at your job to earn money for the government, and because the government is so nice they actually designate a portion of it for you to keep.  Isn’t that great?

But it doesn’t stop there.  Then the state government has to take its cut.  Because Tennessee doesn’t have an income tax (thank heavens!), we have to pay sales tax.

According to Governor Haslam the state of Tennessee is losing between $300 and $500 million because of untaxed internet sales.

Did you get that?  Haslam thinks the money in your pocket belongs to the state of Tennessee.  The state of Tennessee isn’t LOSING anything.  It’s YOUR money!  You get to decide how to spend it, not him.

Avoiding paying money you don’t have to is smart, whether it’s just shopping around to find a good deal, or avoiding Tennessee’s nearly 10% sales tax.  But apparently Gov. Haslam doesn’t see it that way.  As far as he’s concerned, you are stealing his money.

Gov. Haslam stated, “It’s not going to begin eroding the state’s tax base; it already is. Something has to happen nationally. The whole streamlined sales tax is a big deal, and I’m more than willing to play a leadership role. It has to be addressed on a national level or we’re going to keep playing these kinds of move-around games.”

Here’s a news flash for you Governor Haslam – it’s not the federal government’s job to collect state and local taxes. That’s your job!  If you can’t handle it, then that’s your problem, period.  The buck stops with you, not the federal government.

The Constitution gives the federal government no authority or responsibility for internal state matters.  Yet here Haslam goes again, wanting to abdicate more state power to the federal government.  First he tries to abdicate the state’s powers on education, now taxation.

Then the governor goes on about the “move around games” being played with taxes.  Is he seriously sniveling about businesses and individuals moving to states with more favorable tax systems?  Heaven forbid that people exercise their right to vote with their feet by moving themselves and the businesses to states where they actually stand a chance of prospering and keeping some of their hard earned money instead of having their livelihoods plundered by government. But it’s obvious from this that Haslam’s philosophy is that you should just be grateful the state and federal government let you keep some of “their” money.

What’s next, mandatory buying quotas so that the state can be sure that you’re only keeping your rightful share of his money?  Perhaps next will be an outright ban on Internet commerce in Tennessee.  Maybe the state of Tennessee should even ban people and businesses from moving so they can’t run off to another state with Haslam’s money?

It’s clear that Governor Haslam is just another big government politican with nothing better to do than plot ways to plunder your wallet.  The French economist Frederic Bastiat stated, “When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”

It appears that Governor Bill Haslam is laboring under the delusion that plunder is not only legal and moral, but a good thing for Tennessee.  Not by a long shot.

Lesley Swann

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