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Statewide ESAs, Budget Priorities In Tennessee Legislative Session

Image Credit: Antony-22 / CC

The Center Square [By Jon Styf] –

Tennessee’s 2024 legislative session will begin Tuesday with the Republican party looking to pass a budget, statewide K-12 education savings accounts, business tax cuts, enhanced school safety measures, certificate-of-need reform and health care funding.

On Monday, House leadership discussed rules for session including the continuation of rules that began in a special session last year where the third time a member is ruled “out of order,” that member is not allowed to speak on the floor for the remainder of the legislative day.

That rule came into play during an August special session when Rep. Justin Jones, D-Nashville, was ruled “out of order” two times and was thus not allowed to speak from the floor for the rest of the legislative day.

Once rules are approved, the legislative bodies will move forward with floor and committee meetings Tuesday and Wednesday following by full floor sessions of both the House and Senate on Thursday morning.

In November, Gov. Bill Lee announced a plan with 20,000 ESAs worth an estimated $7,075 each for the 2024-25 school year and an unlimited number of ESAs after that.

Lee also has proposed a change in the state’s franchise taxes to lower taxes for businesses.

Republican Senate leadership acknowledged the state will have to be conservative with its budget proposal as tax collection growth has slowed and the state is $197 million short of the budgeted estimate for tax and fee collections through the first four months of the fiscal year.

Republican Senate leadership said that estimates show a $300 million shortfall in the budget.

About the Author: Jon Styf, The Center Square Staff Reporter – Jon Styf is an award-winning editor and reporter who has worked in Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida and Michigan in local newsrooms over the past 20 years, working for Shaw Media, Hearst and several other companies. Follow Jon on Twitter @JonStyf.

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