An anonymous member of the Tennessee legislature has leaked a memo that circulated after the budget surplus was discovered. The memo described in detail how the public relations firm, hired to cover the news, planned on helping the legislature come up with ways to make the public think they were getting money back but not actually giving any money back. Not on the list were such things as “Cut the sales tax” or “Send refund checks to the people” or “Lower the gas tax.” The following items were on the list:

  1. Add a “Sales Tax Holiday,” but only on items nobody will buy. Leave that out of the media blitz.
  2. Send the legislature and their PR firm on a goodwill trip to the Bahamas.
  3. Send a shrink-wrapped prize with each renewed driver license, much like a Happy Meal.
  4. Claim there’s a shortfall and push for an income tax. Then back down later and raise the sales tax again instead. Threaten high profile projects such as public radio. Hide the surplus until it’s politically savvy to reveal it, such as right before an election, and explain how you solved the problem.
  5. Give a small refund to the first 1000 people who write a certified letter thanking their local representative for solving the budget crisis.

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