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February 07, 2023 | Shannon Smith

Governor Lee’s proposed budget prioritizes transportation, economic opportunity

In Monday night's State of the State address, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee highlighted key points of his proposed $55.6 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2023-2024.

Tennessee is in one of its strongest positions in history when it comes to utilizing its budget.

“Tennessee is leading the nation as a guiding light for opportunity, security, and freedom,” said Governor Lee in his State of the State Address Monday night. “I’m proud to propose a budget and strategic policies that ensure our state continues to be a shining example for educational opportunity, strong families, innovation, and economic prosperity.”

In the annual address, the governor presented a $55.6 billion budget and his legislative priorities for the Fiscal Year 2023-2024.

A release from the state said the state’s “strong fiscal stewardship places Tennessee in one of the strongest budgetary positions in history and allows for investments to secure continued success. Lee’s proposed $55.6 billion budget includes strategic funding to modernize transportation, ensure economic and educational opportunity, preserve our natural resources, protect children, strengthen families, and more.”

When it comes to transportation, small business aid, and building a stronger skilled workforce, billions of dollars of the proposed budget would be put toward related growth and improvement.

Here are some highlights from the transportation sector:

  • $3 billion to the Transportation Modernization Fund to alleviate urban congestion and fund rural road projects across the state
  • Proposing new comprehensive legislation centering on Alternative Delivery Models, Public-Private Partnerships, Electric/Hybrid Vehicle Fees

Several proposals would benefit small businesses:

  • $37.8 million for Small Business Excise Tax Relief, establishing a standard deduction from excise tax for up to $50,000 of reported net income, earning taxpayers a maximum of $3,250 in direct savings for Tennessee businesses
  • $20.3 million for Small Business Franchise Tax Relief that exempts up to $500,000 of property from the franchise tax, giving small- and medium-sized businesses that own property in Tennessee up to $1,250 in tax savings on their annual franchise tax liability
  • $7.9 million for Small Business Relief from the Business Gross Receipts Tax, increasing the filing threshold for business tax from $10,000 to $100,000 to ensure that only businesses with $100,000 of gross receipts or more will be subject to the business tax. This includes funding to hold local jurisdictions harmless.

Nearly $1 billion would go to expanding and improving the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCAT) in the following ways to help increase the skilled workforce:

  • $370.8 million to update outdated facilities in seven TCAT campuses state-wide
  • $386.2 million to invest in new buildings, expansions, and improvements to sixteen current TCAT campuses
  • $147.5 million to build six new TCATs to better serve more students across Tennessee

You can view a detailed overview of the proposed budget here and a full transcript of the governor’s speech here.

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