Washington Should Take Note Of How Tennessee Handles Its Spending

Monday, May 19, 2014 - by Speaker Beth Harwell

Your state legislature has wrapped up its business for the year, completing the 108th Tennessee General Assembly. Over the last two years, we have made substantial progress on policies that encourage job growth, ensure our students are getting the best education possible, and protected the rights and freedoms that Tennesseans value. Your voice in Nashville, State Rep. Ron Travis, was an integral part of working towards these goals. 

As other states and Washington, D.C. deal with crushing debt, high taxes, and an unfriendly business environment, Tennessee is on the right track. Our state’s debt ratio is the lowest in the nation, our budget is balanced, and our taxes are low. This was a difficult budget year, but we cut wasteful spending, instead of raising taxes on hardworking Tennesseans. Washington should take notes.

Rep. Travis partnered with me to support bills that expand business opportunities for Tennessee farmers, attract manufacturing operations to our state, and promote better roads and highway access for industrial employers. These are the types of policies that employers across the country are looking for when deciding where to locate or relocate their companies, and will help current Tennessee employers expand their businesses and create jobs.

We were also successful this year in the realm of education. The legislature supported measures that increase parental involvement and awareness of testing in public schools, place an emphasis on teaching civics and America’s founding documents, and ensure the very best teachers are rewarded for their excellence in the classroom. Rep. Travis and I worked together to see that Tennessee values are represented in Tennessee classrooms.

This year also saw several different proposals pass that protect your freedoms. Major reform was approved that will end forced annexation once and for all. The new law requires cities to hold referendums when annexing a community, giving you the ability to voice your opinion via the ballot box. This is an important step forward in protecting private property rights, and Rep. Travis was a strong proponent of this legislation.  

So many of the good things we were able to accomplish this year are positive things for rural Tennessee. We need to keep moving in that direction—working together to ensure there is opportunity in the more rural parts of our state. To that end, I’ve formed the Speaker’s Task Force on Rural Economic Development. The task force’s mission is to identify and recommend strategies to maximize the economic potential of Tennessee’s small cities and rural areas. By identifying barriers to economic growth and ascertaining strategic opportunities, the Speaker’s Task Force will develop and propose sound, sustainable economic strategies to bolster our state’s economy, drive prosperity, and improve the quality of life for all Tennesseans. 

Rep. Travis’ input in the task force initiatives will be key, and I look forward to partnering with him to promote their work. Rural Tennessee is crucial to the overall economic success of this state. We need to prioritize those policies that can foster job and economic growth in these regions. By doing this, we can continue to build on the successes from the last two years and make Tennessee the best place in the country to live, work, raise a family, or start a business. 

Beth Harwell represents the 56th District, which includes a portion of Davidson County. She currently serves as Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives, a position to which she was elected by her House colleagues. 
speaker.beth.harwell@capitol.tn.gov  I  Office: 615-741-0709  I  www.bethharwell.com    Twitter: @speakerharwell  I  facebook.com/BethHarwell

Ron Travis represents District 31, which encompasses Bledsoe, Roane, Sequatchie, and Rhea Counties. He can be reached at rep.ron.travis@capitol.tn.gov, 615-741-1450, or 301 6th Avenue North, Suite G-3, War Memorial Building, Nashville, TN 37243.
Rep. Ron Travis
Rep. Ron Travis

Thank You, Jacqui Helbert

If we ever needed an example of why NPR should be stripped of federal funding it is the recent dust-up about the firing of the so-called journalist Jacqui Helbert by WUTC.  Can someone tell me why my tax money should be used to fund a left wing operation with the likes of Bill Moyers, Nina Totenberg and Garrison Keillor nationally and this little Woodward and Bernstein wannabe ... (click for more)

Chris Anderson Has Done Plenty For Alton Park

Three years ago today, I was canvassing in Alton Park. President Obama called for a day of action to help educate people about the Affordable Care Act and Chris Anderson responded by mobilizing his campaign volunteers to spread the word in the places in his district that needed it most.   I moved here a little over three years ago and the entire time I've worked with Chris ... (click for more)

3 More People Shot In Latest Wave Of Chattanooga Gang Violence; 16-Year-Old Girl Killed

Three more people were shot overnight as a wave of Chattanooga gang violence continued. A 16-year-old girl was killed. The Chattanooga Police Department was called to respond to a person shot in the 3500 block of Clio Avenue early Thursday morning (1:26 a.m.) Two victims were found at the scene, including the young girl who was decease inside a vehiclefrom ... (click for more)

Autopsy Report Says 19-Year-Old Jalen Little Was Shot 14 Times In The Driveway Of His Home After Drug Deal Went Bad

An autopsy report says 19-year old Jalen Little was shot an estimated 14 times in a drug deal gone bad in Hixson on Feb. 12. The teen died after being rushed from his driveway to a local hospital. Zachary Adam Chadwick - the name given by the victim to police just before he died  - with criminal homicide and especially aggravated robbery. Chadwick, also 19, said it ... (click for more)

Lindsey Leads Unbeaten Baylor Past Marion County

There are quite a few new names and faces in the lineup for Baylor’s softball team this spring, but the Lady Red Raiders are the two-time Division II state champs, so it’s more a case of reloading than rebuilding. It’s still early in the season and there’s a lot of key games coming up, but the Lady Raiders are clicking on all cylinders at this point and are now 8-0 following ... (click for more)

UTC Athletics Begins Search For New Men's Basketball Coach

The Chattanooga Mocs begin their search for the 20th head coach in the program’s proud history. The previous 19 combined for 1,281 wins, 16 NCAA Tournament appearances (11 as a DI program), one NCAA DI Sweet 16, 11 Southern Conference Regular Season titles, 11 SoCon Tourney crowns and the 1977 NCAA DII Championship.   Coach Matt McCall departs for UMass after two strong ... (click for more)