WKRN-TV) Gov. Phil Bredesen told farmers, environmentalists and business executives Thursday that Tennessee is poised to become a national leader in developing alternative fuels, but the best way is with switchgrass and not corn….The governor’s budget proposal for next year allocates nearly $73 million to biofuel projects, anchored by a $40 million pilot switchgrass ethanol plant. The ethanol refinery would be operated by the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory….6/1
Though I’m the most politically cynical person I know of it still amazes me that democrats, republicans, libertarians don’t demand a number crunchable state budget. The National Governors Association* could easily adopt a universal chart of accounts and map each state’s budget to it in a way which would allow comparison in an apples to apples manner. Every major policy decision is now a cost benefit analysis and we as citizens don’t demand the data necessary to make responsible judgments. I must assume 1) there’s a Chicago-style gentlemen’s agreement on the part of politicians and their constituencies that corruption is ok as long as the citizens get their cut, or 2) politicians are iddadarate and wouldn’t know what to do with an open discussion which required them to use a spreadsheet in public. extensible business reporting language (xbrl) is now gradually being adopted globally and it could be web hosted, reporting expenditures in realtime (as opposed to "auditing" which provides enough time to make cooked books consistent). Downloadable Excel, Lotus, csv would be better than what is available now.
Last night on the news Bredesen was recorded as asking the disabilities advocates for solutions to the TennCare cuts. Here are a few to give us time to look at the numbers:
1) cease treatment of nonprofits (faith-based and other NGOs including political pacs) as tax exempt entities purely because the federal government does. This is a "state’s rights issue" which has been abdicated. Assign fees and taxes as if they were forprofits (with 3 million NGO/NPOs in the US they are massively redundant and inefficient due to the lack of basic business process automation — another soapbox). Make them prove they give back to society more than they take away via tax exemption; yep, xbrl and universal charts of accounts again.
2) if we can "lotto" for education then surely we can "game" on the institutions those monies flow in to. Let’s legalize the extant gambling on state schools athletics and tax it. Pay the players, too.
1) let’s build a public-private petroleum refinery instead of a news sports venue. Given Tennessee’s dependence on the auto industry I’m surprised big biz hasn’t already suggested this. Figure out a way to tax it.
2) let’s start planting biomass producing varieties of grass on our lawns and create private-public patrnerships to process it into e85 and such. Use the monies from this and those saved from landfill expenses associated with current lawn products. I could mention the recycled doggie doo fertilizer plan but its too early.
**just google "xbrl" under news. If anybody seriously cares – ha! – Eric Cohen at PwC is the guy to talk to – eric.e.cohen at us.pwc.com