Governor Lee Invests Additional $580 Million into Budget for Tax Cuts, Education, Economic Development, and More

Bill Lee on the State House floor


Tuesday, Governor Bill Lee announced that Tennessee will have an additional $580 million invested into various budget initiatives. The amended budget will cover investments in K-12 and higher education, rural communities, safety initiatives, economic development, transportation, and additional tax cuts.

In a press release, the governor’s office shared that this was made possible through “fiscal prudence.” The Tennessee Star inquired with Lee’s office as to what those measures were that allowed these available funds to materialize. Lee’s spokespersons didn’t respond to request for comment by press time.

Lee posted that these investments would spur economic growth all around.

“Our proposal strategically invests in long-term initiatives that will move our state forward,” wrote Lee. “We’re especially proud to provide tax cuts to get money back to Tennesseans to encourage them to frequent industries that have been negatively impacted this year.”

The majority of the additional funds will be allocated to K-12 education, totaling $270.5 million. Most of those funds will address COVID-19-related mental health issues: $250 million.

The next-largest investment, $116 million, will be allocated for a sales tax holiday for grocery stores and restaurants, as well as a 25 percent reduction in the professional privilege tax.

As reported previously, Lee characterized this budget as the largest capital improvements and maintenance budget in state history.

Since his State of the State Address and following the legislative stagnation of 2020, Lee has honed in on making good on his promises. Last month, some of his work included announcing an additional $15 million in broadband access expansion grants and legislation limiting China’s influence in Tennessee.

The governor has also sought to highlight how he’s fulfilling long-standing promises of criminal justice reform. Last week, Lee hosted a roundtable with other criminal justice reform advocates, like former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former Governor of Texas Rick Perry.

On Monday, Lee celebrated the opening of the Tennessee State Library and Archives – a decades-long effort that began in the 1990s and finished under his administration. He also issued a series of statements supporting in-person learning and student-centered investments of government dollars, along with a press conference discussing the $4.5 billion secured in federal COVID relief funding for K-12 education.

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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].






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5 Thoughts to “Governor Lee Invests Additional $580 Million into Budget for Tax Cuts, Education, Economic Development, and More”

  1. Jay

    School choice for all is the answer.

  2. 83ragtop50

    Here we go again. Throwing more money down the bottomless pit of public education. Mr. Lee is hellbent into dumping more and more taxpayer dollars into public schools where there is little if any proven correlation between education improvement and the outrageous amount spent per student. I am all for good education expenditures but I have not seen any real progress in this area despite never ending major increases. It is time to quit throwing money at the problem and actually hold educrats accountable for results. I am afraid that Mr. Lee is living in a fantasy land.

  3. Mike

    I find it laughable that our governor spends our tax money and calls it investing. Tax cuts are not investments, simply returning tax dollars.

  4. Kevin

    The $117 million for sales tax holidays is a great start!

    But, when are all of these “investments” in education going to start yielding a positive ROI? Nobody seems to ever answer that question! IF throwing money at education was the answer, Baltimore, New York City, L.A. and Nashville, would be turning out Einsteins in record numbers! And the last I knew, this ain’t the case!

  5. Randy

    I am all for spurring economic growth. 13.5 Million in seed money for a non-profit organization seems a bit excessive if we already know the project is not “economically viable”.