TN General Assembly closes for 2015; Republicans claim successful session

Here are some press release statements on the conclusion of the legislative session for the year,which came at about 10 p.m. Wednesday evening:

News release from Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey:
(NASHVILLE, Tenn.), April 22, 2015 – The first year of the 109th General Assembly adjourned late this evening, completing its work deliberately and efficiently.

“I have said it before and I will say it again: it matters who governs. The Tennessee way of governance stands in stark contrast to the runaway spending spree in Washington,” said Lt. Governor Ramsey. “Time and again our members refuse to reach into the back pocket of Tennessee taxpayers to balance the budget. We have continued to be the responsible fiscal stewards voters asked us to be. Less spending, lower taxes and smaller government remain our top priorities.”

“We proved this year we will not move backwards on education. We took steps to rip out Common Core root and vine and replace it with strong Tennessee standards based on Tennessee values,” said Lt. Governor Ramsey. “Tennessee is the most improved state in the nation in education. The jobs coming to Tennessee due to our pro-business climate will go to Tennesseans educated in Tennessee schools.”

“An efficient and focused General Assembly can finish the people’s business and save taxpayer dollars in the process,” said Lt. Governor Ramsey. “We have proved it before and today we proved it again. The days of legislative sessions lingering into May and June are in the past.”

The General Assembly passed a $33.79 billion balanced budget that invests primarily in education and economic development. Other noteworthy budget items include $34 million for property tax relief for the elderly and veterans, $41.3 million to complete the phase out of Tennessee’s inheritance tax and $97.6 million for pay increases for teachers.

Among the many highlights of the session was the repeal of Common core, passage of common sense restrictions on abortion, continued reduction of the Hall Tax and several anti-crime and pro-victims rights measures.

Tennessee is currently ranked among the lowest states in the nation in per capita in debt and per capita tax burden. The General Assembly’s pro-jobs, fiscally responsible, small government agenda has resulted in a triple-A rated bond rating for the state.

News release from Tennessee Republican Party
NASHVILLE, Tenn.—With the final debate over, the 109th General Assembly has concluded its work for the first regular session. The closing comes with a number of legislative victories Republicans can be proud of.

“We’ve just witnessed a session of success,” stated Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Ryan Haynes. “Whether it is the conservative fiscal stewardship of our state, educational reforms that keep us on the path of achievement, or a number of bills to enhance the freedom Tennesseans expect—our state is moving ahead. Governor Haslam continues to show why he’s garnered the reputation of a dynamic reformer-in-chief and together, with Lieutenant Governor Ramsey and Speaker Harwell, the leadership of our state has never been stronger.”

• The Republican-led General Assembly passed a fiscally responsible balanced budget that cut taxes, placed over $70 million into the Rainy Day fund, all while funding continued improvements for education and Tennessee’s business-friendly environment.

• Working with parents, teachers, and administrators, the GOP started the effort to put in place Tennessee-specific education standards.

• Tennessee Reconnect was created, a visionary program set forth by Gov. Haslam, to help adults enter higher education so they may gain new skills, advance in their careers, and complete a degree or credential.

• Additionally, while making targeted investments, Republican leaders were able to cut the Hall Income Tax for seniors 65 and older.

Haynes concluded, “I am proud of the work our leaders and my colleagues put in on behalf of all Tennesseans. We’ve proven, once again, our state is a model for how to govern in a responsible, conservative fashion while answering the needs of our citizens.”