The budget amendment, which reflects the conservative priorities of citizens throughout Tennessee, represents a responsible blueprint that balances the state budget and lowers taxes.
Notable funding priorities in the budget amendment include:
- $5.2 million in additional revenue from the tobacco settlement for a total of $43.1 million to support Healthier Tennessee;
- $1.37 million restored for the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Peer Support Centers;
- $225,700 restored for the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities for positions in West, Middle and East Tennessee;
- $250,000 more to Family Violence Shelters;
- $1 million grant for University of Tennessee, Martin Parsons Campus nursing program;
- $44.6 million for the state’s Fast Track Job Training Assistance Program;
- $1.26 million for infrastructure at Rocky Fork State Park;
- $3 million for State Library and Archives and State Museum planning; and
- $1 million for the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.
House lawmakers continue
trend of cutting taxes and
helping small businesses
Over the last few years, millions of dollars have been sent back to the people of our state in the form of tax cuts. This year, the trend continues as a package of tax-cutting measures makes its way through the House committee process.
n House Bill 193: Cuts the sales tax on food from 5.25 percent to a flat 5 percent rate, saving consumers across the state approximately $25 million;
n House Bill 1184: Institutes a sales tax holiday program for small-businesses statewide;
n House Bill 192: Raises the Hall Tax exemption levels for senior citizens from $16,200 to $26,200 for single filers and from $27,000 to $37,000 for joint filers; and
n House Bill 64: Exempts Tennessee businesses from paying a portion of their annual excise tax, allowing businesses to use that money for expansion or other necessary costs.
In total, these bills, if passed by the Legislature, will put hundreds of millions of dollars back in the pockets of hardworking Tennesseans across the state. In addition, lawmakers agree, these measures will spur our economy and make Tennessee an even better place to live, work and raise a family.
(Editor’s Note: State Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland, serves the 24th Legislative District in Cleveland and Bradley County. Brooks and his wife, Kim, are actively involved in their community and local schools with their two children — Zach, who is attending Lee University, and Elizabeth, who attends Cleveland High School.)