2020 Legislative Updates
The Tennessee House of Representatives passed their version of the state budget on a 75-19 vote. The House plan includes several amendments to the Lee administration’s initial budget proposal and varies significantly from the Senate’s budget passed last Thursday. House Majority Leader William Lamberth stated that this legislation represents a deeper, more accelerated cut in FY20-21 than the budget passed in the Senate. Rather than implementing a plan to structurally balance the budget over a three year period, the House seeks to balance the state budget over a two year period by enacting larger, more immediate reductions. The key differences from the Senate budget, which more closely mirrors the administration’s budget proposal, include the following measures:
- The House budget proposal cuts the state budget by $1.5 billion over the next two years.
- The House is requesting that the administration identify an additional $200 million in recurring base reductions.
- Similar to the Senate budget, the House proposal relaxes spending restrictions on the $200 million appropriation intended to provide financial relief for cities and counties, allowing municipalities to utilize this funding in any manner they deem appropriate, including replacement of lost revenue. However, the House budget caps grant funding received by the state’s two most populous metro areas, Davidson County and Shelby County, at $5 million.
- In what has been referred to as the “Battle of the Tax Breaks,” the House seeks to delay the elimination of the final 1% of the Hall Income Tax until 2025 in favor of allocating $100 million in non-recurring funds for the purpose of implementing a state sales tax holiday for all Tennessee residents.
- In addition to the administration’s $167 million in bond funding for capital projects, the House seeks an additional $5.9 million in bonds to fund projects for the University of Memphis STEM Building, and the Advanced Manufacturing Building at the TCAT in Chattanooga.
- An amendment passed on the House floor seeks to fund $70 million in one-time $1,000 bonuses for teachers using the state’s Rainy Day Fund.
The Senate voted unanimously on Wednesday to non-concur in all House budget amendments, and both chambers will now meet in a conference committee to attempt a unified resolution.
Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson cited significant concern with several of the House measures, particularly the proposed $100 million sales tax holiday, which he and others members deemed to be poor fiscal policy. While the state budget typically includes a $10 million sales tax holiday each year, the Senate argued that expanding this funding will not result in meaningful economic activity or substantial savings for consumers.
The chamber also raised issue with the House’s proposed $5 million cap on local grant funding for Davidson County and Shelby County, as each municipality was originally set to receive approximately $14 million under the state program. Senator Steve Dickerson of Nashville voiced strong opposition to the cap, stating that the city has been through immense hardship between the March 3 tornado and shutdown of the tourist industry.
The conference committee will meet in the coming days to resolve discrepancies between the proposals and pass a final version of the budget before adjourning for the year. The Waller Government Relations team is closely monitoring state budget proceedings, and will provide updates accordingly
2019 Legislative Updates
URLTA is the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. To view URLTA, press download below.
2019 was a very successful year for TAA! They were able to successfully progress our legislative agenda with minimal compromise, and were able to defeat legislation that could have been exceptionally damaging to the industry.
PC 236 is TAA’s initiated legislation relative to emotional support animals. To view PC 236 in it’s final form, press download below.
To view the final bill report for 2019, press download below. This report includes a summary of all 27 bills either monitored or actively lobbied on behalf of TAA during this first legislative session of the 111th General Assembly. Bills that did not reach a final terminus in 2019 are still active and able to move forward in 2020. Those bills will continue to be monitored on next year’s legislative tracking report.