Fiscal affairs highlighted

Pat Marsh

Pat Marsh

By Pat Marsh, State Representative

“Negative thoughts destroy and tire: Positive thoughts build and inspire” ~ Author Unknown

We certainly live in a great state, and we are striving to make it even better. This past spring I was asked to serve on a small business task force by some of the leadership personnel in the State Legislature. We were challenged to come up with different ideas and maybe even legislation that would help make Tennessee even better in the area of lower taxes, less regulations and easier ways to start and grow businesses in Tennessee.

We met several times over the summer and fall and heard from several witnesses on things that the state does that hinder starting or growing a business in Tennessee.

Tennessee’s relatively low cost of living, minimal tax burden, and “manageable budget gap” make it a business-friendly state, according to a recent study from the United States Chamber of Commerce. This report ranks Tennessee number 1 in the U.S for low business taxes and regulation.

We came up with many new ideas and some of them are already being drafted as bills for this session. I am very optimistic that this will help make our state better for businesses which will increase our jobs.

I received the Quarterly Fiscal Affairs report from the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury this week and want to give you the bullet points on how Tennessee looks financially:

  • Our current budget, adopted unanimously by our General Assembly, is balanced not only as required by Article II, Section 24 of our Constitution, but also on a recurring basis.

 

  • For the first five months of the current budgetary year, general fund collections have exceeded our projections by approximately $188 million.
  • Our current state debt is not excessive.
  • We have budgeted on a recurring basis for payment of principal and interest on state-issued bonds.
  • The state’s retirement plan is sound.
  • The post-employment benefit obligation for our retirees is manageable.
  • Our unemployment trust fund is solvent

This favorable financial outlook is in large part a result of the willingness of the General Assembly to enact budgets that have forgone, reduced or eliminated expenses and services, as well as the ability of the administration to create efficiencies in operations.

Session is building steam and moving faster and faster as the weeks progress. I have had my first bill pass sub-committee and full committee and now it will head to the full house for a vote. I am feeling more confident about sponsoring bills, but it is still a nerve racking experience.

Tuesday morning I had the pleasure of eating breakfast with the TN Association of County Election Officials at the Sheraton Hotel. I got to sit with Summer Leverette and Andrew Robertson of Bedford County and Sheila Allen and Melissa Beddingfield of Lincoln County. I got to catch up on local news and had a great breakfast. Dan Long, of Lincoln County Election Commission, also stopped by my office for a good visit.

I attended and spoke at a meeting Friday at the UT Extension Office about keeping the FSA (Farm Service Agency) open both in Bedford and Marshall County. I believe closing them would put an undue hardship on our local farmers in the counties it serves. I want to do everything I can to help keep the office open if at all possible.

I will also be attending a meeting Monday in Murfreesboro at 10 a.m. with Mayor Sam Tune concerning moving along a much needed sewer system project for the people of Eagleville.

We will be back in session Monday evening, and it is going to be a busy week. Monday, during our session, Governor Bill Haslam is slated to present his State of the State Address. That will be a very interesting speech, and the room will be filled to capacity.

Please feel free to stop by my office or give me a call if you have any questions or concerns. You can reach me at (615) 741-6824 or by email at rep.pat.marsh@capitol.tn.gov. I am honored to represent the people of the 62nd district.

 

Posted on Monday, January 30, 2012 at 4:23 pm