It is time to break up Tennessee’s large cities.
Anyone with three functioning brain cells realizes the Tennessee Republican Party is not a conservative party and the Tennessee State legislature is a body that is of the lobbyists, by the lobbyists and for the lobbyists.
The Tennessee legislature will occasionally throw something out that is red meat for the Republican base, but for the most part they act like moderate Democrats. After all, without the Republicans in the state legislature, who would we have to expand government and raise taxes?
Conservatives need to start pressing the legislature to make some real small government reforms. One of the best reforms that could be made is to start breaking up Tennessee’s largest cities. This process has started with State Senator Bo Watson’s “De Annexation” bill, which passed the Senate this year and will be considered by the House next year.
Tennessee’s four largest cities have Democrat mayors. Memphis is well on its way to putting Detroit to shame as a murder capital and as the city most likely to end up in bankruptcy. Nashville, while a safer city, has had a series of mayors who put Music City on the way to fiscal insolvency.
Big cities become bastions of liberal government. While Tennessee is allegedly a deep red state, the four big city mayors keep growing and expanding government. They all drink the Kool-Aid and work for every liberal special interest group.
When Black Lives Matters protesters blocked Interstates in Memphis in 2016, the Memphis Mayor, Jim Strickland did nothing. People were stuck on the interstate for as much as four hours and an ambulance with a sick child could not get through.
Tennessee’s large cities are the bastions of failed liberalism in this state and it is time to put them down.
It is simple. The legislature can mandate that a city may grow to no more than a certain size. For the sake of discussion, let’s put that figure at 100,000 people. Just to put that in perspective the populations of the four largest Tennessee cities are, Nashville 685,000, Memphis, 656,000, Knoxville 185,000 and Chattanooga 174,000.
There are solid reasons to support breaking up Tennessee’s large cities. It is a simple, indisputable truth that smaller government works better. If you have a problem, you are much more likely to get answers and a response from a mayor or a city councilman in a city of 50,000 than you are in a city of 500,000.
When a city has large government, far too often, it is very easy for the mayor and other political leadership to start creating sinecures for their friends and allies. It is far too easy for liberal politicians to slide in wasteful and idiotic programs into the local budget with a large city that has a multi-billion dollar budget.
For fiscal year 2018 for example, Nashville’s budget is over $2.2 billion, which represents an almost 5.9% increase over the previous year. Some of that money is going to liberal causes like “affordable housing.”
Nashville spends 40% of its budget on schools that are generally regarded as failing.
Would a smaller city and therefore a smaller government help that? It certainly could not do any worse than Nashville or Memphis are currently doing.
Local governments have their purpose. Local governments exist to keep the streets paved and to provide fire and police services. But far too often, liberals use these big city governments as nothing more than slush funds for a liberal agenda at the local level.
It is time our allegedly conservative state republicans in the legislature do something about the big government liberalism at the local level. The best way to do that and to help the citizens of this state is to break up and limit the size of cities in this state.
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Judson Phillips is a Tennessee attorney and founder of Tea Party Nation.