He was referring to growth as he addressed MainStreet Cleveland members Monday.
“I’m glad to be home,” he said.
Brooks outlined several key points about the legislative session of the 107th General Assembly.
One was WACKER and a “gift” of sorts.
Wacker Polysilicon North America is “one of two industrial development projects which will receive funding in the new budget presented by Gov. Bill Haslam. The budget calls for $5.2 million from the state in direct appropriations and $29.4 million in bonds,” according to Brooks.
He said many constituents don’t understand that with these “gifts” the return is greater than the investment. Brooks provided a chart indicating 1 cent of every taxpayer dollar is all that goes to business and economic development.
“That’s just 1 cent with a billion dollar return. And that’s a good trade,” he said.
“The economic development grant was negotiated under the previous administration led by then-Gov. Phil Bredesen after WACKER increased its investment in Bradley County, adding nearly a half-billion additional dollars and 150 more jobs to the originally planned 500 positions,” Brooks said.
Brooks also lauded the previous governor, saying Bredesen was a very smart, Harvard-educated businessman. Looking at the current governor, he praised how Haslam oversaw operations of Knoxville and cut costs in that city government as mayor.
“The governor’s budget proposes an average reduction throughout the state government of 2.5 percent,” Brooks said.
Last year’s budget was more than $32 billion, but the “administration’s budget was set at just over $30 billion, reflecting a start in the right direction,” he said.
Brooks said legislators would look hard at services for patrons of the state.
He also said Interstate 75 Exit 33, which is in State Rep. Eric Watson’s District 22, needs as much attention regarding infrastructure as Exit 20. Brooks said WACKER, Amazon.com and other industry are the reason for improvements to vital infrastructure.
Brooks also touched on education reform and the Health Freedom Act which passed the General Assembly.
“On Thursday in a vote of 64-32, the teacher tenure reform legislation easily won approval in the House,” said Brooks.
The bill was designed to make sure quality educators are in place and “ensure every student is led by a great teacher.”
The Health Freedom Act specifies “every person in Tennessee is free to choose or decline any mode of health care services without penalty or punishment from the government,” noted Brooks.
“At least right now, this act ensures everyone should be safe,” said Brooks relating to federal proposals.
“We all have to work together to find compromise, something we can all agree on. That’s the best way,” Brooks said.