State Budget Released, Education a Priority
Monday at the capitol, the legislature and other key figures in the state government gathered to hear Governor Bill Lee’s State of the State address.
Taking its title from a 1965 state slogan, “America at its Best” was a largely celebratory and optimistic speech.
Much of the speech underscored the fiscal stability of the state government, which has operated with a balanced budget under mandate of the state constitution.
“We’re already one month into calendar year 2022. I can tell you that our pipeline for job creation is as strong as it’s ever been, said Allen Borden, Deputy Commissioner of Business, Community, and Rural Development.
Beyond giving praise to the financial success of the previous year, the speech also disclosed the major points of the state budget for fiscal year 22-23.
Chief among the investments discussed in the speech was education, with more than one billion dollars allocated to K through 12 and 839 million set aside for higher education.
The rainy day fund, which has been growing since 2012, now contains a financial cushion of roughly 1.5 billion.
Governor Lee was quick to point out that none of the provisions in the budget will lead to a raise in taxes for people in Tennessee.
“Financially, we’re in excellent shape. In fact, US News and World Report rated us as number one among the states, as far as financial stability,” said Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally.
While attitudes were generally positive in the general assembly, the tone was different in the hallway, where twenty to thirty protesters were gathered.
The protest was targeted at Governor Lee. Issues such as healthcare and education were cited as shortcomings.