News release from Tennessee Democratic Party:
NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Roy Herron released the following statement in response to Governor Haslam’s remarks yesterday expressing his confusion about why the state unemployment rate remains so high:
“The governor can’t figure out why Tennessee’s state unemployment rate is one of the five highest in the nation. But his administration’s failures are having dire consequences for Tennesseans all across the state.
“Instead of accepting $1.2 billion this year in 100% federal funding to expand Medicaid, which would have saved 1,800 lives and created tens of thousands of jobs, the governor has done nothing as rural hospitals have closed and urban hospitals have laid off workers.
“Instead of providing scholarships for students or training for workers, the state’s first billionaire governor is abolishing the inheritance tax for billionaires.
“Now, the governor’s proposing drastic cuts to the state budget, which will mean more Tennesseans losing their jobs and more vulnerable Tennesseans like children, the sick, and the mentally ill being denied services. If the governor wants to find the source of Tennessee’s high jobless rate, he should look in the mirror- and change his policies.”
The Associated Press reported yesterday that Governor Haslam said of the unemployment rate, “it’s a little hard for us to understand why that number hasn’t budged” and that “Haslam said he has asked some economists to look into the unemployment statistics to ‘dig back into’ the figures to see if they can find an explanation for Tennessee’s high jobless rate.”
The AP also reported House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh’s response: “Unfortunately, the numbers don’t lie . . . instead of tinkering with those figures, we should focus on the problem which is the neglect of our existing small businesses.”