House, Senate pass barebones budget

The state Capitol has been closed to visitors since March 16, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Both chambers of the Tennessee General Assembly have passed a barebones budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The spending plan projects no economic growth and required the deep reductions from Republican Gov. Bill Lee’s original proposal.

Democratic efforts to eliminate about $40 million to start up the governor’s school voucher program failed.

Lee was on hand to watch the the budget debate in the House and Senate.

29 Responses to House, Senate pass barebones budget

  • James White says:

    Glad the democrats failed to stop the vouchers

    • Karen Bracken says:

      This is one time I agree with the Democrats. They see this scheme for what it is. You might want to do some research and put your greedy hand back in your own pocket. Vouchers are the funding scheme to suck private schools into the same failed system parents are trying to get out of and to also get all private school kids into the data pipeline. When you fund private education with public money it is no longer private educaion and the day will come people will be sorry they ever supported charters and vouchers because the end game is choice of location but no choice of education.

      • James White says:

        I understand. But they can be used correctly and independently. Unless the end all Federal and State involvement then parents getting their own money back to hire teacher or homeschool is better than the communistic system we have now.

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  • Norma Shirk says:

    Can’t see how school vouchers will help fight covid-19. Any chance this budget actually did help by expanding Food Stamps, TennCare, and unemployment coverage to help more people who are affecteed by the virus (and the tornado)?

  • John Richards says:

    It’s not that vouchers passed, it’s that the funding remained in this Emegency budget when they were being implemented a year early. They could have waited a year.

  • Eddie White says:

    James, I guess they decided to spend the money on those vouchers rather than fixing the roads…sorry

  • Diana Page says:

    Was Lee there for intimidation purposes? Or?

  • Diana Page says:

    Regarding the bill which addressed special circumstances for holding meetings: the fact that the House did not accept the Senate’s revision suggests that they may have been trying pull a fast one?

  • Beatrice Shaw says:

    I cannot believe they funded vouchers and we will soon have hospitals and morgues full. Millions will be out of work and we need food and medicine.

    • James White says:

      Study: 99% of Italy’s Coronavirus Deaths Had a Pre-existing Condition

      • MARLE says:

        Italy has a demographic and a lifestyle that is Nothing like the US, Korea, or China. Yet the White House puts people in front of a microphone who just blurt out statistics with no context. This is as close to administration malpractice as I have ever witnessed. The country can not be managed like a bad investment in an Atlantic city casino. You can’t just screw your creditors, declare bankruptcy, and walk away without a look backwards.

  • John Stewart says:

    I’ll say this, Gov. Lee is giving President Trump a run for his money in being the most off-base, ineffectual and disappointing leader in this time of crisis. First, Lee shoehorned money for vouchers into legislation that was designed to give Tennesseans resources to fight COVID-19. Second, Lee has failed to issues any state-wide regulations to give every community clear directions on what has to happen now that the virus has not been contained. Tennessee has received national ridicule for being one of three out of 50 states not to have issued such mandatory state-wide directions. Third, and most inexplicable, Lee continues to deny hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans health insurance protection by expanding Medicaid and receiving $1.2 billion annually from the Feds. This money would go a long way to giving local rural hospitals the resources to open back up or stay open. Is there anything more urgent than providing hospital care across Tennessee in this crisis? How can Lee deny Tennesseans these resources that will mean the difference between life and death, especially for our rural residents? What is the matter with this man?

    • James White says:

      How about some good news?
      – China has closed down its last coronavirus hospital. Not enough new cases to support them.
      – Doctors in India have been successful in treating Coronavirus. Combination of drugs used: Lopinavir, Retonovir, Oseltamivir along with Chlorphenamine. They are going to suggest same medicine, globally.
      – Researchers of the Erasmus Medical Center claim to have found an antibody against coronavirus.
      – A 103-year-old Chinese grandmother has made a full recovery from COVID-19 after being treated for 6 days in Wuhan, China.
      – Apple reopens all 42 china stores.
      – Cleveland Clinic developed a COVID-19 test that gives results in hours, not days.
      – Good news from South Korea, where the number of new cases is declining.
      – Italy is hit hard, experts say, only because they have the oldest population in Europe.
      – Scientists in Israel likely to announce the development of a coronavirus vaccine.
      – 3 Maryland coronavirus patients fully recovered; able to return to everyday life.
      – A network of Canadian scientists are making excellent progress in Covid-19 research.
      – A San Diego biotech company is developing a Covid-19 vaccine in collaboration with Duke University and National University of Singapore.
      – Tulsa County’s first positive COVID-19 case has recovered. This individual has had two negative tests, which is the indicator of recovery.
      – All 7 patients who were getting treated for at Safdarjung hospital in New Delhi have recovered.
      – Plasma from newly recovered patients from Covid -19 can treat others infected by Covid-19.

      • Eddie White says:

        Nice try, but there won’t be any good news until the Democrats regain the White House.

      • Paul says:

        That’s all swell…..but…..

        There is no actual cure at this point and if you want a test, good luck. Try finding one. So, we trudge along and realize that there’s a lot of this out here and we haven’t known it. Some of the larger cities and counties are figuring it out and closing restaurants, bars, and such on a mandatory basis, as we see the unconcerned spring break crowd file back from Florida’s crowded beaches (look at the rate of increase in south Florida right now).

        Meanwhile, we are focused on “vouchers to eliminate government schools” in this state. Thanks Governor Lee, heckuva job.

        Likewise, the case rate in the US is showing signs of an exponential increase. We’re not even at the end of the beginning of this, as they say. Good luck to us all, because it’s pretty clear the Trump administration is mainly interested in ensuring he can inoculate himself against being blamed for anything related to the response of the government of which he is theoretically in charge.

        • MARLE says:

          Paul……Other than gathering needed information for the CDC for evaluation and data collection what, as a practical matter, is the significant day to day value of testing?

          • Paul says:


            Good question. Obviously it has value to the CDC, but more importantly, it has value to the state and localities. At the national level and state level, we are not able to test aggressively enough since there are not enough test kits. The info we have says that the actual rate of infection is several days behind what we have on record now. In theory of course, it could be better, but it’s most likely worse. Meaning, whatever numbers you see now are likely to get worse quickly. The reason cases are popping up in these rural counties now is folks are getting tested because they are really ill, not just “I feel a bit sick, can I have a test”. We can’t even test medical staff on the front lines right now. I’d be happy to be wrong about this trajectory. Time will tell, but it’s not going to be long.

            To your point, tests tell us where we really are and where we need to apply resources or how bad this really is. It’s not just data for the CDC.

            Just to be clear, there’s a reasonable debate to be had about education in this state. I don’t personally think vouchers help anything, but for some reason that seems to be what the legislature and governor are fixated on at this point to some degree. I get it politically since it’s a conservative check box, but once a potential tsunami is on the horizon is not the time to focus on other priorities.

            My two cents. It’s likely going to get worse before it gets better and there’s no apparent leadership at the federal level, just prevaricating. In particular, not only is Trump not leveraging the lagging demand for PPE for medical staff, the government is going to throw money at airlines, etc, and write checks to a certain tax bracket. These checks are OK, but they won’t go far. The airlines and such have spent the past several years doing stock buy-backs to increase shareholder profits and now they want the taxpayer to pony up. They need some skin in the game if our tax dollars go there, not just free money with no strings. It can’t be a repeat of private profit, socialized risk from 2008.


          • MARLE says:

            If I have symptoms that turn out, through testing, to be a head cold that simply tells me I am not infected TODAY. It tells me nothing about my contagion going forward since I might contract the virus tomorrow.

            Since “they” say I could be spreading the virus for 14 days prior to symptoms, THAT test told me nothing of practical value to me and the people I come in contact with.

            Covid 19 seems to be no more lethal than past viruses. We have, after 3 months of the virus in the US, 260+ deaths. That is a 1.3% Death Rate

            I assume they are now testing everyone who dies of an upper respiratory condition. But they are not counting by any stretch all of the infections b/c they are not showing up at doctors and clinics to be counted.

            The Death toll is being counted; as the infections become counted or Projected that rate Will Come Down. WE had 700 Thousand hospitalizations in 2018 for the annual flu without shortages.

            Why are we running out of beds, equipment, etc for so few cases now? OR are we hospitalizing all of homeless just to get them off the streets? I heard that NYC is proposing to house everyone with “Very Mild Symptoms” who claim to have no where to go in Manhattan Hotels for 14 days. Right now they are being held in hospital quarantine. OMG !

      • Phil Lassiter says:

        China lies. They are blaming the US for it.

  • Beatrice Shaw says:

    Tennessee has not expanded Medicaid?1? I think you’re mistaken here. That is illogical

  • Phil Lassiter says:

    You’re ignorant, Beatrice

    • John says:

      Yeah whatever troll is making the Aunt Bee posts really screwed up on this one. How would a liberal who doesn’t know about Medicaid expansion be informed enough to find the TN Journal? My money is on Stuart. Check the frequency and timestamps of their interactions. So lame. Sad!

      • MARLE says:

        That makes even less sense than usual. How would a timestamp reveal anything about who posted what?

        • John says:

          Maybe it’s you. Maybe it’s some other Republican that posts only as Aunt Bee. Point is: no liberal is dumb enough to not know Tennessee hasn’t expanded Medicaid but is smart enough to post on TN Journal. One of you trolls f’ed up. You all are embarrassed of your TNGOP Dear Leader, Bill “Seventh Day Adventist” Lee. Good luck.

          • MARLE says:

            How does a date stamp tell anything about who posted what? I’ll keep asking until you answer the question.

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