Governor Lee Lets Nashville Government Continue to Spin Out of Control

by Pat Hamsa, via dailyrollcall.com

Between being broke with big debt service, and an insatiable blue wall of protection for illegal aliens and resettling refugees reliant on public assistance programs like TennCare, Bill Lee continues to abet the Nashville island of resistance which threatens the stability of Tennessee.

In November 2019, the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office reviewed and rejected Nashville’s budget, threatening to take over if they couldn’t figure out how to address the years of irresponsible over-spending. According to the Comptroller, “Metro’s expenses have outpaced the city’s revenue growth since 2013, according to Wilson. To accommodate those increasing expenses, city leaders have been depleting Metro’s available cash and reserve funds, which are down 24% and 16% respectively.”

Davidson County is pretty much the cash cow for the state’s different tax collections.

Today, despite the multi-millions of dollars invested in Nashville by state taxpayers, the city is broke and in debt. Today, Nashville has no rainy day fund and it’s debt service consumes a mammoth portion of revenue. The mayor is proposing a sky-high property tax increase, the pro-illegal-immigration-mayor-in-waiting Bob Mendes who chairs the council’s budget committee, is proposing an even bigger tax increase, and socialist council member Zulfat Suara has suggested increasing the county’s debt burden by borrowing more money.

During the worst public health and economic crises faced by Tennessee, Bill Lee has taken a hands-off approach to Nashville letting its far left mayor and city council continue their inept and destructive management of the county.

Lee made this decision even though the state’s liberal Attorney General opined that state law allows the governor to exercise broad power over the local governments during emergencies. Instead, Lee agreed to giving names of COVID positive people to law enforcement.

The Nashville Metro Council now wants to require whoever they determine are essential workers, to wear masks. Will that get another thumbs up from the governor?

While the majority of Tennessee counties were released from the governor’s “safer at home” order on April 30th, Lee allowed Chattanooga, Memphis, Nashville and three other counties to make their own decisions. Nashville’s mayor is taking an overly long route to reopening the county in a four-phased plan with each phase mandated to achieve his seal of approval before moving to the next phase.

WalletHub’s calculated (using U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data) that unemployment in Nashville increased 5% since January 2020 due to COVID and was at over 7% in March 2020 as compared to March 2019. Nashville, Chattanooga and Memphis were also ranked among cities with the highest unemployment increases due to COVID. 

Nashville’s we-hate-police Community Oversight Board’s recent report documents that 31,000 illegal aliens are living and working in Davidson County.

WalletHub’s state rankings of COVID unemployment increases, put Tennessee at 22 since the start of COVID in March, and at 18 of being the most impacted for unemployment since May 4, 2020. 

It’s estimated that over 8,000 illegal aliens who have qualified for work permits through Obama’s unconstitutional DACA program are living and working in Tennessee.

A 2017 Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), estimate puts the cost of illegal immigration to Tennessee taxpayers at $793 million dollars. The NAE report says that illegal aliens come to Tennessee to work.

The alleged non-partisan Partnership for a New American Economy (NAE) which churns out reports and “data” advocating for increased legal immigration and amnesty for illegal aliens because these workforces are essential to the American economy. Their 2016 report (latest available), states that as of 2015, approximately 26,634 “likely refugees” were residing in Tennessee.

NAE, the Koch brothers Americans for Prosperity Tennessee lobbyist and TIRRC also like to push the false economic-enhancing narrative of legal immigrants like refugees and illegal aliens. Tennessee’s AFP lobbyist Tori Venable and the leader of LIBRE, the Koch’s “premier pro-mass immigration organization,” co-wrote an oped titled, “Common ground is possible even when it comes to immigration.”

And they chose to focus on Nashville “because it’s a hub for tourism, commerce and innovation.”

Nashville is a hub alright and right now that hub is broke with high unemployment and “is projected to lose $470 million in revenue over the next 16 months, including more than $200 million in the next fiscal year, which starts July 1.”

Tennessee’s Comptroller appears to be monitoring Nashville but it’s not clear whether the governor and/or his advisors are reading the Metro tea leaves.

Rescinding his consent for continued refugee resettlement which is expected to begin again very soon, would make unemployed Tennesseans have a small measure of confidence that their needs are first before Bill Lee’s personal agenda.

Governor Lee has assured legislators that they will have revenue data to help them decide about budget cuts when they reconvene for a very very short session beginning June 1. Lee’s commitment to continuing refugee resettlement means that the costs of the federal program will continue to be involuntarily transferred to state and local governments.

If the governor can’t be counted on to put Tennessee citizens first, then the legislature can by passing the Gant/Bell bill which will put the decision-making about refugee resettlement in the hands of the legislature.

The Speaker of the House and Senate will decide which bills will be heard.

Contact Lt. Gov. Randy McNally 615-741-6806 and House Speaker Cameron Sexton 615-741-2343 and ask them to pass the Gant/Bell bill.

Call the Governor and tell him to start working with the legislators and not against them and the voters who gave him the privilege of serving them – 741-2001 or email him https://www.tn.gov/governor/contact-us.html