MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tennessee Governor Bill Lee delivered an optimistic view of the Volunteer state and spelled out his $55 billion budget plans for this fiscal year during Monday night’s State of the State address.
Gov. Lee called for investing in roads, education, aid to parents and children, and cutting taxes during his State of the State address.
“The state of our beloved state is prosperous, hopeful and unrivaled,” he said.
But what did the governor say about Memphis, specifically when it comes to his budget?
Gov. Lee proposed making a grant to the city of Memphis for tourism-related infrastructure in the amount of $350 million dollars for improvements at FedExForum and Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium.
“Being able to put in the budget the 350 million to renovate and upgrade our sports facilities is very important,” said Representative and Memphis Republican Mark White.
House Minority Leader and Memphis Democrat Karen Kamper and Representative Mark White appeared on Live at 9 Tuesday morning to discuss their thoughts on Governor Lee’s budget plans.
“There were a lot of good things in the budget. Memphis was highlighted,” Kamper said.
“I was very pleased with the comments that Governor made about Memphis,” White said.
The governor also addressed increasing staffing with the Tennessee Highway Patrol, which he had promised last year for Memphis, and adding more forensic scientists to the TBI to better handle the backlog of rape kits.
“You know for us we’ve been frustrated for years with how long it takes to get a rape kit tested. Memphis, police and law enforcement have been doing its part by sending them to TBI, but they just don’t have the staff,” Kamper said.
“Remember, last year we added in the budget 100 new troopers and this year another 100 new troopers. One thing I’m going to ask the governor is put more of those troopers on interstates down in Memphis,” White said.
During the address, Gov. Lee also talked about Tyre Nichols and his family.
“We have been in prayers, in constant prayer for the Nichols family since they tragically lost their son, Tyre last month. Their courage, their compassion and the compassion shown by the people of Memphis is a picture of hope,” he said.
Some lawmakers say the governor should have also addressed police reform.
“I was grateful that he mentioned Tyre Nichols’ family and that he prayed for them and that’s important for us to do, but he has the opportunity right now to make Tennessee another blueprint for how we can do this right,” Kamper said.
“There are tons of discussions around that already as far as what direction we go in and police reform. We have a violent crime issue in Memphis and across the state, and we want to continue to address that,” White said.
There was no funding mentioned in the governor’s budget for the proposed replacement of the Mid-South Coliseum to turn it into a soccer stadium.
The governor’s budget still has to be approved by the Tennessee General Assembly.