Tennessee’s Dead Horse

It’s the lack of investment in public education

After years of running budget surpluses, Tennessee this year has a bit of a budget crunch. For the first time in a decade, revenue numbers are coming below projections.

This is all happening while state leaders are pitching a $1.6 billion corporate tax break.

I’ve been writing about Tennessee policymakers missing the mark on investment in education for years now as well.

Beating a dead horse, some might say.

Over at The Education Report, I wrote recently about missed opportunities in that decade of surplus revenue.

As recently as 2021, the state had a $3.1 billion revenue surplus.

The next year? $2 billion.

But these years of surplus were not met with attendant investment in public education.

Tennessee did not boost starting teacher pay to $60,000 or provide free meals to all kids at school.

Now, we’re in a time of less revenue collection and an apparent commitment to grant a corporate tax break well in excess of $1 billion.

What gets left behind, then?

School funding.

The same dead horse.

Photo by Josephine Amalie Paysen on Unsplash

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