Gazillionaire Governor Opposes Living Wages, But Also Law to Prohibit Them

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While making it clear he’s against living wage laws, Gov. Bill Haslam today also said he’s not in favor of prohibiting city or county governments from adopting them.

“I’m not a fan of the living wage,” our gazillionaire governor told reporters. But asked whether he’s for state legislation to handcuff cities and counties, Haslam said: “Governments should be able to decide for themselves if they want to do that.”

That state legislation is the brainchild of Rep. Glen Casada, R-Franklin, who last session gave us the law invalidating Nashville’s anti-gay bias ordinance. His new idea would bar local governments from passing not only living-wage laws but also health-care coverage and family-leave allowances that go beyond the requirements of state law.

Haslam signed Casada’s anti-gay bill into law. So the governor’s comments today caused reporters to cock their heads in puzzlement. Why would Haslam oppose Casada’s new legislation if he was OK with the anti-gay bill? The principle is the same: State legislators shouldn’t impose their political will on the elected representatives of cities and counties.

We asked Haslam about this obvious contradiction. His answer? “Little different implications,” he said as his press secretary hastily called the media availability to a close.

What did Haslam mean by that? Who knows? Conservative Christians were behind the anti-gay bill, and he had to pander to them or they would have ripped off his skin. Maybe that’s the implication he was talking about.

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