Rep. Rick Womick has another gripe to add to his litany of complaints about Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration: Why fund a new state museum instead of raises for teachers or highway patrol officers?
“I have good news for all of us,” the Rockvale Republican exclaimed during personal orders on the House floor Wednesday morning. “Tax revenues are up, there is extra money. The good news is — actually it’s the bad news: our state troopers have not had a pay raise in three years, our teachers need a pay raise and the Tennessee Military Department is facing 6-8 percent budget cuts.”
“I would propose to our governor that we forget the Tennessee State Museum and put that money where it belongs, to those who support our Tennessee state government,” he continued.
Haslam’s office released their budget amendment on Tuesday, which includes $120 million in funding for a new Tennessee State Museum. The overall project is estimated to cost $160 million, $40 million of which will be raised from private funds.
According to the governor’s office, the excess funding is made possible “due to Franchise and Excise tax collections that exceeded estimates last month as a result of an unusual one-time event, along with other revenue collections and program savings, there are nearly $300 million more than anticipated in non-recurring funds.”
The state museum, originally established in 1937, has been located in the basement of the Tennessee Performing Arts Center for the past 30 years.
Alex Harris can be contacted at Alex@TNReport.com.