Gov. Bill Lee addresses education, more in annual speech

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Gov. Bill Lee gave his fifth State of the State address on Monday in Nashville.

Bill Lee

In the address, the governor spoke on budget and legislative priorities for the upcoming year to a joint session of the Tennessee General Assembly and fellow Tennesseans.

One of the matters that Lee discussed was cutting taxes for Tennesseans once again.

“Last August, we gave Tennessee families a one-month break from grocery taxes to provide relief amid nationwide inflation. We should do that again this year, but let’s extend it to three consecutive months,” Lee said in his address.

Lee went on to announce that he is also introducing the Tennessee Works Act to deliver more $150 million in annual tax relief to small businesses.

Lee spoke about the importance of education across the state, proposing an additional $350 millions in education funding and raises for teachers.

“When I came into office, the minimum pay for teachers was set at $35,000. We are proposing legislation that, if it passes, will increase the minimum teacher pay, by the time I leave office, to $50,000,” Lee said.

He’s also proposing new funding to place at least one Homeland Security agent in each of our 95 counties to help keep students safe. And it’s all because of a fast response time here in West Tennessee.

“A few months ago, a student at a high school in West Tennessee noticed something suspicious. The student reported their concern in the SafeTN app, bringing it to the attention of one of our Homeland Security agents in the region. The agent pursued the tip, and we have a strong reason to believe that this prevented a real threat from becoming a real tragedy,” Lee said.

Lee believes having the SafeTN app and the availability of Homeland Security agent helped prevent an issue before is occurred, making classrooms safer.

Lee spoke on several other proposals, including a proposal to cover the cost of diapers during the first two year’s of a baby’s life for mothers on TennCare.

“If approved, Tennessee will be the first Medicaid program in the nation to implement this kind of support. That’s pro-life. That’s pro-family,” Lee said.

There is also a proposal to build six new TCAT facilities across the state.

“Our goal is to train 10,000 new skilled workers a year. To achieve this, we’re proposing $1 billion in this budget – the largest investment in our technical colleges in state history,” Lee said.

All of this is along with a proposal to create four new state parks.

You can find the transcript of Lee’s speech here. Watch the full speech below:

You can find more news from across the state here.

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