NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced his amendment to the proposed Fiscal Year 2021-2022 budget on Tuesday.
The amendment includes $580 million in available funds as a result of fiscal prudence.
These funds will be invested in strategic long-term projects that focus on a return to pre-pandemic priorities and deliver critical services while not growing government.
The state will allocate more than $4 billion in federal funding to push for in-person learning and recouping learning loss because of COVID-19.
The budget amendment also includes nearly $100 million for a two-week sales tax holiday on all grocery sales, purchases at restaurants and all prepared food.
“This proposal supports Tennesseans by strategically investing in long-term initiatives that will move our state forward,” Lee said in a news release. “I’m especially proud to provide tax cuts to get money back to Tennesseans to encourage them to frequent industries that have been disproportionately and negatively impacted this year.”
This amendment reflects the Governor’s priorities and includes record investments in broadband, economic development, safety and law enforcement, increasing reserves and education.
The Tennessee General Assembly approved a $160-million package of bills to combat learning loss for students across the state during the pandemic.
“Due to Tennessee’s strong financial leadership, Tennessee has been ranked number one in fiscal stability by U.S. World News & Report in both 2019 and 2020,” said Commissioner of Finance Administration Butch Eley. “Our prudent and cautious approach has established Tennessee as a leader in fiscal conservatism, and we thank the General Assembly for their partnership in these efforts.”
The Tennessee Education Association is disappointed that more money isn’t being earmarked for K-12 education.
“With the state bringing in record surplus month after month, there is no excuse to not make significant increases to public education funding. The governor’s budget amendment is woefully short on meaningful K-12 investment,” Tennessee Education Association Beth Brown said in a statement. “Without sufficient state investment, school districts cannot afford the nurses, counselors, RTI specialists and social workers our students need. Without sufficient state investment, underpaid teachers will continue to spend hundreds of their own dollars on classroom resources.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee outlined key administration bills in his 2021 legislative package on Thursday.
“The Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) outlined the chronic problems with the BEP, indicating that ‘fully funding’ the state formula would require an additional $1.7 billion in state funding. The current administration proposal is a little more than $200 million. It is time for the state to do better. The money is there to get Tennessee out of the bottom five in state funding. There is no need to raise taxes, only a need to prioritize Tennessee students and public education.”