I recently saw a bumper sticker which said, "If you aren't outraged, you aren't paying attention." Last week I paid attention and yes, I'm plenty outraged.
I am outraged that legislature rushed through the paycheck bill so fast it made my head spin. One of the worst consumer bills the legislature has ever passed, this bill allows the predatory lending industry to collect bad check fees on payday loans to poor people on top of its standard interest rate of 400 percent per year.
This is the same legislature, give or take a few members, which last June took so long to put together a state budget that the state came within hours of totally shutting down. This is the body which has waffled for decades on passing a bill that would take the abhorrent sales tax off groceries. This is the body which has failed to pass an open container law or lower the DUI level from .10 to .08, costing the state millions in federal monies.
And this is the body that can't get it together to pass tax reform, and has allowed Tennessee to slip lower and lower on a number of social indicators such as high school and college graduation rates and the condition of children index.
House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh says he doubts there is any correlation between the payday loan industry's $250,000 in campaign contributions to
legislators and the governor, and the speed with which this bill was passed. This statement insults the intelligence of every Tennessean.
Do our elected officials think we are too cynical or too distracted to notice what they do? The only light at the end of the tunnel is that maybe this legislative train wreck will make more people realize we've got to institute campaign finance reform.
This leads me to the next thing I am outraged about