Governor Lee Addresses Federal Covid Relief

CLEVELAND, Tenn. (WDEF)- Governor Lee says the latest covid relief bill on the Senate floor is flawed, and Tennessee will suffer financially despite flourishing during the pandemic.

Debates can now begin on covid-19 relief after Vice President Kamala Harris cast her tie-breaking vote in the Senate Thursday.

“On this vote the yeas are 50. The nays are 50” said Vice President Harris Thursday. “The Senate being equally divides, the vice president votes in the affirmative and the motion to proceed is agreed to.”

“There is one major flaw in that bill” said Governor Bill Lee.

Governor Lee says the flaw is that money will be distributed to states based on unemployment rates, not population.

Tennessee’s unemployment rate is steadily declining.

“What that means to Tennessee is that we will be receiving 160 million dollars less than we would receive if the dollars were distributed from the federal government based on population” said Governor Lee.

For some, it’s all a matter of perspective.

“He’s (Gov. Lee) looking at it from the state as a whole. For the individuals in the state of Tennessee who need the assistance, they need the assistance now” said Chair of the Hamilton County Democratic Party Rodney Strong.

Governor Lee started lifting businesses restrictions last August.

That helped avoid a major spike in unemployment.

Strong does not believe Tennessee is a a victim of its own success.

He says the state will still benefit when individuals receive financial relief.

“The tax revenue is dependent on sales tax because we don’t have an income tax” said Strong. “We don’t have a statewide property tax. So the quicker the relief money goes to the individual, the more they can buy, which will will generate even better revenue for the state.”

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