Last night, before a joint session of the 107th General Assembly, I delivered my second State of the State address. Regardless of the occasion, it’s always an honor and privilege to share my vision for our state with the great people of Tennessee.
So you may ask, what is the state of our state? Well, in many ways we are doing great.
First, the positives: We have a history of fiscal responsibility and continue to be a state with low debt and low taxes. Our economy is improving, and we added 28,000 new jobs, an impressive number over the last year. The unemployment rate is the lowest it has been since 2008, and across the country, Tennessee is being recognized as a leader in education reform. But yet, we still have important work ahead.
Despite a substantial decline, unemployment is still too high, and we are consistently only in the mid-40s when states are ranked for education achievement. I’m not satisfied, and I don’t think any of us should be. I think we all can believe in better.
We can believe in better when it comes to the education of our children, and we can believe in better when we talk about a stronger, healthier economy for our state. And we can certainly believe in a more customer-focused, efficient and effective state government that keeps taxes low.
I promise to be relentless when it comes to providing the very best service to our taxpayers for the very lowest price. And on issue or policy, our administration will always work to get to the right answer, not just our own answer. I believe that by elected leaders working together, and with your support, we are going to achieve better for Tennessee.