Friday, May 12, 2023

Default cannot be an option. Our fiscal path is unsustainable. Little time to waste in pursuing deficit reduction.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, MAY 12, 2023 - Today, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its Updated Budget Outlook, which presents a new ten-year baseline that incorporates new legislative and technical (but not economic) changes since last February.

CBO projects the budget deficit will total $1.5 trillion this year and rise to $2.9 trillion by 2033. It also projects the national debt will reach a record 107 percent of the economy by 2028 and grow to 119 percent by 2033. In total, debt will rise by $22 trillion between now and the end of the decade.

The following is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

If ever negotiators needed a sign they should be pursuing deficit reduction, this is it. We absolutely must raise the debt limit as soon as possible – without drama and without any threat of default. At the same time, inflation and interest rates are too high and our fiscal path is unsustainable. We need over $8 trillion of ten-year deficit reduction just to hold debt at its current share of the economy.

CBO’s report shows clearly why any plan to fix the debt will ultimately need to include changes to Social Security, Medicare, and the tax code. But real progress can be made focusing on other areas of the budget, including by enacting multi-year discretionary spending caps.

Congress and the President should work quickly to enact some budget savings and reforms. They should appoint a commission or establish another process to address the rest of the budget.

With inflation surging and debt approaching a record share of the economy, there is little time to waste. And with the debt limit deadline well in sight, lawmakers must act as soon as possible to make sure the country can pay its bills. Default cannot be an option. 

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization committed to educating the public on issues with significant fiscal policy impact. 

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15 people have picked up qualifying petitions to run for mayor. Here is the list.

 Qualifying Deadline: May 18, 2023 at Noon

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Nashville Sidewalk Law Deemed Unconstitutional By Court

 The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn], May 12 – According to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, a Nashville law about sidewalks is unconstitutional.

The law, passed by the Metro Council in 2019, required landowners and developers to install a sidewalk in front of the new building or pay a fee to the city, which was then used to build a sidewalk in another location.

Two property owners challenged the law after the city demanded they build sidewalks or fork over money. The Southeastern Legal Foundation (SLF) handled the claim.

One of the landowners was told by municipal authorities that a sidewalk would create a drainage problem, so the city told him he had to pay a fee or create a modified sidewalk. The other owner was forced to pay $8,800 before he could begin his new construction.

A district court originally upheld the law but the appeals court stated that it was a violation of both the Fifth and Fourteenth amendments. (Read more)

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Where is Andy Ogles?

See this from The Nashville Scene:

Andy Ogles does have an office in Tennessee, but it’s locked. No signs indicate that the U.S. representative for 708,000 Tennesseeans resides in suite No. 5 on the second floor of 22 Public Square in downtown Columbia, where — in our fourth attempt at contacting the Ogles office — the Scene handed a business card to Ogles aide James Amundsen through the partially cracked door.

Ogles’ campaign site lists another address in downtown Columbia: 29 Public Square, home to a law firm a few doors down. 

“This is just where his mail comes,” says Madison Ausbrooks, who works the desk at Whatley & Ricci. “I think his office is somewhere on the square, but I honestly don’t know where you can find him. If I knew, I would tell you.”

(Read more

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Democrats blocked Hagerty’s legislation to preserve Title 42 for the fourth time yesterday.

With Title 42 set to expire tonight, United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) today joined members of the Senate Republican Conference in a press conference at the U.S. Capitol to discuss the dangerous repercussions of the Biden Administration surrendering one of the last tools available to Border Patrol agents to combat the record-breaking border crisis. 


Senator Lankford, thank you for organizing this today. I appreciate it very much. And I want to welcome all of you to the next chapter in the horror story that is Joe Biden’s America. 

Joe Biden has decided that it’s best to cede control completely of our southern border to cartels—multi-billion-dollar criminal organizations that work in partnership with the Chinese Communist Party to flood fentanyl into our country to kill our youth. In fact, the number one killer of young Americans today between 18 and 45 years of age is overdose—most of it fentanyl coming across that southern border. 

This is the next chapter in Joe Biden’s America. The national security crisis that he has created here in America is, as my colleagues have said, ‘like nothing we’ve ever seen before.’ 

But it goes beyond our borders. I met with the president of Guatemala. He told me that he would like to tell me what the root cause of the problem is in his country. He said he’s lost all control of his southern border because there are now caravans of people moving through his country. He has no idea who they are. He’s lost control of his sovereignty as a nation because of what Joe Biden has done to invite people from all over the world to illegally enter our country.

Joe Biden is destabilizing the entirety of Latin America as a result of the policies that he’s adopted. It’s leading to deaths in my home state of Tennessee. It’s turning every town into a border town, and this chapter is going to turn out to be the worst chapter in America’s history if we allow it to continue. 

Republicans have solutions, but Democrats continue to block [them]. Yesterday, for the fourth time, I brought my legislation to the floor of the United States Senate to stop fentanyl border crossings—to modify Title 42—to make it permanent. And when drug smuggling is suspected, as it constantly is happening, our border agents would have the ability to turn people back. Democrats blocked it yet again last night. 

So, we’re about to witness another tragedy here in America, again, courtesy of President Joe Biden. Thank you.

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So far this year, 411 guns have been stolen from vehicles in Nashville

Metro Nashville press release, May 11, 2023 - The Nashville Police Department strongly encourages Nashvillians to lock their automobile doors, secure any valuables---especially guns, and remove the keys.

So far this year, 411 guns have been stolen from vehicles in Nashville, 23 were taken from autos just last week. The total number of guns stolen this year in Davidson County is 532, which means that 77% of guns stolen so far in 2023 have been taken from automobiles.

Going hand in hand with vehicle burglaries is vehicle theft. Too many autos are easy targets because the keys are left inside or made available to thieves.

Just like guns taken from vehicles, these stolen cars, trucks, and SUVs, are also routinely involved in criminal activities, including carjackings and robberies.

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Lee signs $412M Tennessee tax cut

by Jon Sty, The Center Square, May 12, 2023 – Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a tax cut Thursday that is estimated at $412 million, with $272.8 million of that attributed to a three-month grocery tax holiday.

Lee’s office called it the single-largest tax cut in state history.

The grocery tax holiday will start Aug. 1 and run through Oct. 31.

"Tennessee’s legacy of responsible fiscal stewardship has allowed our state to weather national economic storms while maintaining a balanced budget and cutting taxes for Tennesseans,” Lee said in a statement. “We thank the General Assembly for partnering with us to make the right investments for Tennessee families and businesses while supporting our state’s future economic growth and success.”

The bill includes changing the state franchise and excise taxes to single sales factor taxes like 32 other states. Those taxes are based only on a business’s sales within the state of Tennessee. It will be phased in over three years.

It also creates a $50,000 net earnings reduction ($37.8 million cost) from excise taxes while exempting $500,000 of property from franchise taxes ($20.3 million cost) and increases the filing threshold for business tax from $10,000 to $100,000 ($7.9 million cost).

“In Tennessee we are committed to low taxes. We believe that Tennessee businesses and citizens are in the best position to decide how to spend their own money, and these tax-cuts demonstrate that we practice what we preach,” Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson said. “.... We are proud to be one of the lowest taxed states in the nation, and this move to further cut taxes strengthens our dedication to being a pro-business and pro-family state with low taxes.”

A two-year pilot family leave tax credit will be created for businesses that gives employees from two to 12 weeks of paid leave, providing at least 50% of normal wages over that period. If a business provides 50% of wages, it receives a 12.5% credit for those wages and it maxes out at a 25% credit if full wages are paid. The program is not mandatory for businesses.

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Liberal Speak Translation Guide update: person who produces sperm/person who produces eggs.

by Rod Williams, May 12, 2023- When you think the woke cannot get nuttier they do.  According to the May 15th issue of National Review, a Vermont school district is replacing "man" and "women" with "person who produces sperm" and "person who produces eggs." 

 Liberal Speak Translation Guide

 Intended for use when reading the Nashville Scene, when listening to NPR, most mainstream media including The Tennessean, academics, and liberal politicians. These terms may also be encountered when talking to any liberal. If your child recently went away to college and returns home for a visit, you may encounter these terms. If you watch MSNBC you will definitely need this guide where the liberal speak term is the term that is always used. Because sane people acquiesce and surrender their culture many of these terms become standard usage. Please do not surrender to the liberal attack on our culture by using the liberal speak terms.

Liberal Speak

person who produces sperm
person who produces eggs

sensitivity reader
Ageism or agist
Someone who points out that as one ages their mental acuity and physical strength, or endurance may decline.  
This term is not the same as equality or equal. Equity calls for all outcomes being equal regardless of effort or talents or any other factor. Equity is an outcome in which Black men are not in prison in a greater proportion than White men and that the same proportion of Black men are brain surgeons as White men.
Someone who points out that a disability may be a disability.
White supremacist
Anyone who does not embrace identity politics or the equity agenda. Black people may be White supremacist. A Hindu Indian immigrant may be a white supremacist.  
limiting LGBTQ rights
Prohibiting genital mutilation of children, requiring drag shows to be age appropriate, prohibiting men from playing in women's sports, requiring official Id' to state one's sex, or any activity that does not cater to the LGBTQ community.
medical care for their transgender children   
Medical abuse that includes experimental hormone treatment and genital mutilation of children
restricting Trans healthcare
Limiting medical abuse that includes experimental hormone treatment and genital mutilation. Almost always refers to children.
banning drag shows
Restricting drag shows that appeal to prurient interest to adults.
A person that does not know if they are male or female or sometimes think they or male and sometimes think they are female.

Targeting transgender youth, 
Protecting children from experimental hormone treatment and genital mutilation
Book banning    
 Making a choice, with which someone disagrees, as to which book will occupy limited shelf space in public libraries or school libraries. Failure to carry ever book ever published.
 Often means determining that some performances or topics should be age appropriate and that porn should not be on school library shelves.
law preventing genital mutilation of children.
Gender Affirming Care for Children
permitting experimental hormone treatment of minors and genital mutilation. 
women's reproductive rights
women's health care
 often means abortion.

"Gender Affirmation Treatment," or "Gender Affirmation Surgery," or Gender Affirming Care"
Sex change, sexual reassignment surgery or sexual reassignment treatment, genital mutilation.                   
Minor-Attracted Persons or MAP
A pedophile.  A sicko who is sexually attracted to children. 
A recognition that bad outcomes may not have occurred if one had exercised prudence, caution, responsibility or wisdom.

As in "slut-shaming." An expression of disapproval, verbal or by body language or facial expression that you disapprove of someone else's morals, values, grooming, or looks. It is a failure to hide your judgment of another.
Referring to a male who decides he is a female by his real legal birth name he used before he adopted his new made-up feminine name.

Illegal alien 
tax expenditures
Any of your money you get to keep.  The mortgage interest deduction on your home is a "tax expenditure."

kinetic military operations
Arsenal of Weapons
Gun Collection
Economically challenged
Delicate Wetlands
The Underclass
Cruelty-Free Materials
Synthetic Fiber
Heavily Armed
Knows right and wrong
Your Fair Share
More Coerced Theft or your income
Commonsense Gun Control
Gun Confiscation Plot
Illegal Hazardous Explosives
Fireworks or Stump Removal explosives
Product of conception
Unborn Baby
Nonviable Tissue Mass
Unborn Baby
Equal Access to Opportunity
Equal Access to Opportunity
Preferential treatment
Equal Access to Opportunity
Reverse Discrimination
Multicultural Community
High Crime Area
Fairness or Social Progress
Upper Class or "The Rich"
Successful People
Progressive Change
Big Government Scheme
Homeless or Disadvantaged
Bums or Welfare Leeches
Sniper Rifle
Scoped Deer Rifle
Investment For the Future
Higher Taxes
Healthcare Reform
Socialized Medicine
Extremist, Judgmental, or Hater
Victim or Oppressed
Criminal or Lazy Good-For-Nothing
Religious Zealot
Church-going, God-fearing
Fair Trade Coffee
Overpriced Yuppie Coffee
Exploiters or "The Rich"
Employers or Land Owners
The Gun Lobby
NRA Members
Assault Weapon
Semi-Auto (Grandpa's M1 Carbine)
Fiscal Stimulus
New Taxes and Higher Taxes
Revenue enhancement
New Taxes and Higher Taxes
Investment for the future
New Taxes and Higher Taxes
Same-Sex Marriage
Legalized Perversion
Mandated Eco-Friendly Lighting
Chinese Mercury-Laden Light Bulbs
Green Energy
Overpriced electricity produced from unreliable solar panels or windmills
Diverse or Lifestyle Choice
Sinful and Perverted

by Rod Williams, March 28, 2023 - I am adding one new term with this update. The term is "sensitivity reader." Sensitivity readers read the work of an author and replace words in the original version with words that conform to modern liberal sensibilities. In essence, "sensitivity readers" are censors. Authors whose works have been modified include works by Roald Dahl, Ian Fleming, and Agatha Christie. 

Acclaimed mystery author Agatha Christie, in her novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles had identified a Jewish person as a Jew. Censors erased the word identifying the persons identify from "Jew,' to "person."  In Death on the Nile, some characters were described as Nubian, as in the ethnic group from the region of Nubia. That descriptive term was eliminated. In another work a person was described as "Black" and that word was removed. (link)

In Roald Dahl's classic children's book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory a character was referred to as "enormously fat," and censors removed "fat" and just called the character "enormous." In Chocolat Factory and other works by Dahl, more censorship took place to sanitize his works to make them more politically acceptable. (link)

by Rod Williams, March 24, 2023 - It has been about ten months since I updated this guide and wow! How the language has changed! Most of the new terms I have added are related to promoting the queer and transgender agenda. Liberals are finding new uses of the language to promote the medical mutilation of children.  

Many words that need a translation are not unfamiliar words but an expanded or different meaning of words. Take the use of the term "White supremacist." We used to know what that word meant. Now anyone who does not support an equity agenda or identity politics may be a White supremacist.  Many Asians are now considered White supremacist because they resist limits placed on how many Asians will be accepted at the better universities. Universities do this to keep Asians from being overrepresented and to open more slots for Black students.

Recently in Virginia the governor appointed a women named Suparna Dutta for a position on the state board of education. She is a India-born Hindu women who had founded a parent's group at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. The group accused the school or abandoning its merit-based admission standards in order to reduce the number of Asian students. Ms Dutta also angered progressives by her criticism of socialism and her defense of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  Her opponents smeared her with the label of White supremist and denied her a seat on the board. Read more about it at this link, and this link

One problem with labeling people you disagree with as White supremacist is that after a while the term loses its sting. If Suparna Dutta is a White supremacist, I might be a White supremacist. This long ago happened with the terms Fascist and Communist. When people call someone a Communist or a Fascist or even a Nazi, I know longer assume they are really a Nazi, or Fascist or Communist. 

Ableist is a word commonly used to describe one who thinks John Fetterman stroke may have reduced his ability to perform the job of Senator.  

Agist is anyone who points out that Joe Biden is not as young as he used to be and sometimes has "senior moments," and questions if at age 80 he should be elected to four more years.
May 13, 2022- The new addition to our Liberal Speak Translation Guide is "Gender Affirmation Treatment," or "Gender Affirmation Surgery."  I first saw this in a description of a movie on Netflix then I started seeing it in mainstream publications and in NPR news reports. This is such a loaded term.  It implies that the gender in a person's head is their real gender.  It implies that treatments such as hormone therapy, hormone blockers, breast implants, tracheal shave, vaginoplasty, or other actions to make one's body conform to the thought in one's mind is the correct course of action. It is fixing a mistake of nature. This term says that giving a male, female characteristics (or vise versa)  simply affirms reality. 

12- 3- 2021- I discovered a new politically correct term today and this is a doozy.  Someone once crudely said political correctness was an attempt to pick up a turd by the clean end.  That is a good description for many politically correct terms but is a real good fit for this one. The term is “Minor-Attracted Persons” or “MAPs” for short. The Daily Wire reports that it was coined by an Old Dominion University (ODU) professor of sociology and criminal justice named Allyn Walker.  We think of these people as pedophiles, filthy perverts, sick people, who are sexually attracted to children. Since the only behavior, the liberal culture finds abhorrent is judgmentalism, expect this term to gain traction. 

12-9-2018 - It is time for a liberal speak translation update. The culturally loony left keeps getting loonier.

Twitter has decided to ban “dead naming.” If a man decides he wants to change his sexual identity and adopts a new feminine name, even if it is not his legal name, it violates liberal standards to call him by his real name.  Take the example of Bradley Manning, the former United States Army soldier who was convicted by court-martial in July 2013 of violations of the Espionage Act and other crimes. He decided he was a she and said he was now "Chelsea Manning." To call him a "he" is politically incorrect and to refer to him as "Bradley Manning" is to commit the liberal sin of "dead naming."

Another word that needs explaining that has entered the vocabulary is "shaming," such as "slut-shaming," "fat-shaming," "mommy-shaming,"  "body-shaming,"  This is an expression of disapproval, verbal or by body language or facial expression that you disapprove of someone else's morals, values, grooming, character, behavior or looks. It is failure to hide your judgment of another.

A term that should have been on this list but I somehow overlooked it "victim-blaming." An example of "victim-blaming" may be to point out that if one had exercised better decision making maybe bad things would have not happened to them. For instance, if a female college student dresses provocatively, teases guys, gets crazy drunk, and then goes back to the dorm with a guy and he takes advantage of her, to say she did not exercise caution and prudence is "victim-blaming." To point out that to decrease the chances of being poor one should finish school and not have children before you get married is blaming the victim.

3-12-18 - This is the first time I have updated since April 2011. At that time if a news story said, "she filed a lawsuit," we knew what that meant. Now "she" might be a he who dresses like a woman or wants to think he is a woman or has embraced his femininity or sufferers from gender confusion. 

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You can disagree with a person without thinking they are evil.

 by Rod Williams, April 11, 2023 - In the most recent issue of The Nashville Scene, Bill Freeman, local real estate mogul, major fund raiser for Democrat politicians, and owner of The Scene and a bunch of other local news outlets wrote an editorial on the recent tragic school shooting in Nashville. The main focus of his opinion piece was that guns are too easy to obtain, and we need more gun regulations.

While I would question some of his contentions, and while I support the Second Amendment, I would not have found Bill Freeman's article particularly offensive if he had not stooped to demagogic demonizing of people who disagree with him. Here are two examples from that editorial:

Sadly, many politicians, like U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, prioritize their relationships with the National Rifle Association over the right to life.


As long as politicians prioritize their own careers over the safety of our children, we will continue to see these devastating tragedies. 

These statements in essence say that Marsha Blackman and other politicians who do not see things the same way Bill Freeman does, do not have real convictions of supporting the Second Amendment, but base their support for the Second Amendment on campaign contributions. It says they value campaign contributions more than the lives of children. In my view, that is a despicable thing to say.  We should be able to disagree and make our case without attacking one's character or implying those who are is disagreement with our position are simply evil. 

I had my own, but much more personal, experience with this mindset myself very recently. A sibling on mine wrote on Facebook to another party this statement.

Actually, this is very misleading of my positions. I was a global warming skeptic when the issue first appeared on my radar.  And, following the "hid the decline" scandal I briefly again was a skeptic. But for almost all of the past 25 years I have accepted the predominant scientific consensus. To me however, I do not think it is the issue that trumps all other issues and I see a lot of greenwashing and approaches to the issue that are irrational, non-productive and counterproductive. 

As regards to Trump, I did not vote for Trump in 2016. However, I thought he made a pretty good president, despite thinking he is a bully and a jerk, and I voted for him in 2022. I strongly condemn his attempt to illegally hold on the power and keep Congress from certifying the election.  Anyone who reads my blog knows I am a Trump critic. 

Despite that my sibling misrepresented my positions, even if he had properly represented them, could he not think we are both honorable people with a difference of option rather than saying I am no better than a Nazi?

I know this mindset is not only a mindset of the left. Conservatives are often ready to call liberals "communist," or attribute their policy positions to evil intent. Could we not engage people with whom we disagree as simply wrong, or uninformed, or misguided rather than thinking they are evil?

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Wednesday, May 10, 2023

What's in the Mayor's proposed FY24, $3.2 billion budget

Metro Press Release, May 1, 2023- Today, Mayor John Cooper files his proposed FY24 budget to Metro Council for their consideration. Mayor Cooper previewed some of the budget's key priorities at last week's 60th State of Metro Address.

This year's proposal reflects $3,218,202,300 in total revenue, which is a 6.2% increase, or $188M, from the FY23 operating budget. It also fully achieves the new fund balance policy passed by Metro Council, which holds 2 months of operating expenditures and 50% of annual budgeted debt service in reserves.

In addition, Mayor Cooper is proposing an additional $125.7 million in one-time capital spending and additional reserves as a result of surplus funds available after meeting Metro's fund balance policy threshold. The Metro Council ordinance establishing the new policy directs that any surplus be used for one-time, capital expenses, debt reduction or the establishment of additional reserves.

"In the past four years, we have course corrected on years of underinvestment and made generational improvements in our most important priorities – education, public safety, housing, infrastructure and other core government services," said Mayor John Cooper. "This year's budget builds on those efforts, investing in what works and innovating to meet the challenges of tomorrow. Nashville's future is bright, and this budget helps create a platform for a successful city for decades to come."

Mayor Cooper's FY24 budget includes $99,970,300 in new operating spending for Metro Nashville Public Schools; nearly $50 million in new spending to increase wages for Metro employees; significant funding increases for affordable housing, including the Barnes Fund at $30 million; new investments to combat homelessness, including establishing a new Office of Homeless Services; fully funding all staffing requests for sworn officers, EMS and firefighters; and an emphasis on continued stability of waste management and furthering our capacity to address litter.

MNPS Investments

This year's budget reflects Mayor Cooper's consistent priority of ensuring our students have the top-quality resources and facilities they need, while our teachers are receiving the pay they deserve. In addition to the nearly $100m in new operating spending for our public schools, this budget fully funds continuity of service and 4% COLA and steps for Metro Nashville Public School Employees. Additionally, it calls for:

  • a pay increase for principals and associate principals;
  • $10.8M to fully expand a national best practice pilot program called Classroom Associates to fix a broken substitute teacher system; and
  • $8M for no-cost meals to ensure every single student receives a free school lunch.
  • A one-time capital allocation of $66 million to MNPS from the surplus will allow for Pre-K space additions to 15 locations across our public schools; a building addition for our most overcrowded school Alex Green Elementary; 5th grade transition expenses in the Antioch, Cane Ridge and Glencliff schools; and other capital improvement projects district wide. A portion of this investment will be held as additional reserves for capital needs.

Public Safety

It is essential that Metro continues to support its first responders. This commitment continues in the FY24 budget: which includes:

  • $15M for increasing police pay
  • $10.7M for increasing fire pay
  • 49 new EMS positions and 39 more firefighters
  • Additional police officers to fully staff 9th Police Precinct in Southeast Nashville
  • Recurring funding for MNPS's SRO program
  • 21 new positions to fund a fleet overnight service program so vehicle maintenance and repairs will be faster
  • Increase juror pay from $10 to $20 a day (and continued free parking program)
  • Expanding Partners-in-Care to additional police precincts
  • $50k for a mail-in gun lock program to provide free gun locks to residents
  • $700k for new investments in the Office of Family Safety


One year ago, Mayor Cooper declared Nashville a "housing first" city and announced an ambitious $50 million homelessness response plan using federal funds that finally matched the magnitude of the problem. This year, he is furthering that commitment by creating and funding a New Office of Homelessness-- a department focusing on getting our unhoused neighbors in permanent homes. This year's budget funds 29 employee positions, equips them with a $750K Community Partnership Fund and a $500k Housing and Support Services Fund.

Neighborhood Services

It is critical that as Nashville continues to grow, Metro equips its neighborhoods with the resources so all its residents can thrive. That's why the FY24 budget:

  • Fully funds operation for all Parks Community Centers to be open on Saturdays
  • Increases funding for library staffing in our branches
  • Continues Metro's tree canopy restoration and development projects
  • Increases the Financial Empowerment Center's staffing
  • Continues the Nashville GRAD Program
  • Provides Community Court navigators and program support
  • Bolsters Social Service program focus and staffing on vulnerable elderly
  • Increases operational and provides $7.3M of capital funding for the Nashville General Hospital

Affordable Housing

Ensuring every family has access to affordable housing is a challenge Metro Nashville is facing head-on. This year's budget continued funding for the low-income tax credit housing tax abatement, Housing Incentive pilot program, VASH voucher support program, and development of a Unified Housing Strategy. For the second year in a row (using federal funds last year), the Barnes Fund will be funded at $30m, meeting the recommendation of the 2021 Affordable Housing Task Force.

Transportation and Infrastructure

A safe, clean, and thriving neighborhood also needs proper upkeep. Budget funds have been set aside to focus on neighborhood safety infrastructural improvements, including projects like litter and street sweeping, right-of-way striping, streetscape, right-of-way enforcement and capacity-building in transportation capital project management. Additionally, a one-time capital investment will be made in projects like Vision Zero, traffic calming, sidewalks, and construction planning for the Murfreesboro Bus Rapid Transit corridor to BNA.

In a city on the move, it's important Nashvillians and visitors alike can move efficiently through our streets. Mayor Cooper's dedication to this cause is visible in the operating budgets almost $10M increase to the Metro and Regional Transit Authorities to fund continuity of service, pay plan, and $2.6M of Better Bus Enhancements.

Government Improvements

The FY24 budget also makes significant government improvements. It includes investment in language access in Metro council meetings and Metro court proceedings, as well as the Office of Family Safety, libraries, and public health facilities. Additionally, it calls for a $1M comprehensive compensation study for all Metro employees, and an increased parking validation budget for Metro public meetings. Finally, it ensures the Metro government meets all contractual increase and requirements, as well as provides funding for FY24 Metro Elections.

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Monday, May 08, 2023

Connecting the dots

 If you start with a zillion dots on a canvas and are allowed to connect only the ones you want while erasing all the others, it’s pretty easy to connect the dots to create any image you like. 

Jonah Goldberg

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Gov. Lee Announces Special Session on Public Safety to Begin August 21 Tennesseans are invited to engage in the conversation by sharing feedback.

State of Tennessee Press Release, Monday, May 08, 2023- Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced that he will call for the Tennessee General Assembly to convene a special legislative session on August 21, 2023, to strengthen public safety and preserve constitutional rights. 

“After speaking with members of the General Assembly, I am calling for a special session on August 21 to continue our important discussion about solutions to keep Tennessee communities safe and preserve the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens,” said Gov. Lee. “There is broad agreement that action is needed, and in the weeks ahead, we’ll continue to listen to Tennesseans and pursue thoughtful, practical measures that strengthen the safety of Tennesseans, preserve Second Amendment rights, prioritize due process protections, support law enforcement and address mental health.”

Starting today, Tennesseans are invited to engage in the conversation by sharing feedback here.

Gov. Lee will meet with legislators, stakeholders and Tennesseans throughout the summer to discuss practical solutions ahead of the special session. 

The Governor’s office will issue a formal call ahead of the special session. 

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Tennessee earns 11th Spot in New ALEC Rankings for Economic Policies Attracting Individuals and Job Creators

Press Release, ALEC, ARLINGTON, Va. – Today, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) released the 16th edition of Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index, the annual report assessing each state’s competitiveness and economic outlook. The report, which has been used by lawmakers across the states since 2007, is co-authored by Reagan Economist Dr. Arthur B. Laffer, FreedomWorks Economist Stephen Moore, and ALEC Chief Economist Jonathan Williams.

“When the states – our 50 laboratories of democracy – promote economic growth through lower taxes, responsible budgeting, and pro-worker policies, they attract new residents and job creators,” said ALEC Chief Economist Jonathan Williams. “Americans continue to vote with their feet by relocating to states like Utah, North Carolina, and Arizona, where elected officials’ commitment to free market principles and pro-taxpayer reforms were a key factor in achieving our top overall rankings.”

The authors utilize 15 economic policy variables to rank the economic outlook of every state. These variables have proven over time to be influential for state competitiveness and growth. The report highlights that cutting taxes, paying down debt, and maintaining free market policies have significantly helped states attract new residents.

 Find out how your state ranks here.

 Top 10 States                                                 Bottom 10 States

1. Utah                                                         41. Maryland

2. North Carolina                                         42. Hawaii

3. Arizona                                                          43. Oregon

4. Idaho                                                         44. Maine

5. Oklahoma                                                 45. California

6. Wyoming                                                 46. Illinois

7. Indiana                                                         47. New Jersey

8. North Dakota                                                 48. Minnesota

9. Florida                                                         49. Vermont

10. Nevada                                                 50. New York

 “This amazing repository of data on the competition among the states is the ultimate guide to economic growth and prosperity,” said Dr. Arthur Laffer. “Rich States, Poor States tells a clear story: states with low taxes attract more business investment and more workers. People move to where they have economic opportunities.”

Utah has maintained its position as the top-ranked state for economic outlook for 16 years in a row. State leaders and legislators have a strong record of implementing pro-taxpayer reforms in recent years, including the adoption of a flat personal income tax rate, pension reform for its previously endangered system, and an innovative approach to property tax reform.

 “A freedom and prosperity movement has been unleashed in state capitals in part because of the continuing impact of Rich States, Poor States. It truly is a must-read for state legislators around the country,” explained Stephen Moore. “Over the past 16 years, we’ve seen a race to the top among states. Our rankings continue to motivate state legislators and governors to pursue pro-growth policies while limiting the size and intrusiveness of government.”

North Carolina’s sustained success in maintaining its second overall ranking can be largely attributed to its historic 2013 tax reform, which helped catapult the state from 22nd place to its current position. Similarly, Virginia’s impressive climb from 24th to 18th place in the rankings can be attributed to the significant tax cuts and rebates enacted during its 2022 legislative session. In contrast, New York’s ranking at the bottom of the list has remained unchanged due to its persistently high personal, corporate, property, and inheritance taxes, which continue to place a heavy burden on taxpayers in the state.

“With no end in sight to the dysfunction in Washington, states are taking matters into their own hands,” added ALEC CEO Lisa B. Nelson. “This new edition of Rich States, Poor States showcases how states are competing with one another to become bastions of freedom and opportunity. Ultimately, it is the American people who benefit from this friendly competition, which ALEC is proud to promote.”

The American Legislative Exchange Council is the largest nonpartisan, voluntary membership organization of state legislators in the United States. For more information about the American Legislative Exchange Council, please visit:

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Texan Lizzette Gonzalez Reynolds to lead Tenn. education department as Penny Schwinn exits

Lizzette Gonzalez Reynolds

 By Marta W. Aldrich, Chalkbeat, May 1, 2023- Penny Schwinn will step down as Tennessee’s education chief at the end of this school year and be replaced by a former Texas administrator who currently oversees policy for the Jeb Bush-founded advocacy group ExcelinEd.

Lizzette Gonzalez Reynolds will become the first Hispanic American to lead Tennessee’s education department when she starts her job on July 1.

... The changes, announced Monday by Gov. Bill Lee, come at a critical time for the state’s 1 million public school students and just a few months into the second term of an administration that has been one of the most active in history on changing education policies.

Tennessee is shifting to a new education funding formula, enforcing a controversial new third-grade retention policy for struggling readers, operating large-scale tutoring and summer learning programs to help students catch up from the pandemic, expanding its private school voucher program to a third major city, and fortifying its school buildings after a Nashville school shooting left six people dead on March 27. Replenishing Tennessee’s teacher supply is also a priority. ... In Reynolds, Lee has chosen a leader who is heavy on political and policy experience but who has little to no experience leading a classroom. 

...she was deputy legislative director for then-Gov. George W. Bush and later served as chief deputy commissioner for the Texas Education Agency. ... At the federal level, she worked in the Bush administration under U.S. education secretaries Rod Paige and Margaret Spellings. Since 2016, Reynolds has been vice president of policy for ExcelinEd, launched by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in 2008 to pursue education policies that he believes improve student learning and lessen inequities. They include emphasizing early literacy and school accountability, and giving families more education choices such as charter schools and vouchers. (read more)

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