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Rep. Timothy Hill listens to citizens’ concerns at town hall meeting in Mtn. City

Representative Timothy Hill, Republican District 3, held a town hall meeting on Thursday, May 7th at Lois Café. In attendance were many Mountain City citizens as well as Mountain City Mayor Lawrence Keeble. The primary purpose of the meeting was for Hill to give an overview of what is going on in the state regarding bills, budgets, and projects as well as hearing concerns from the county. Hill began the meeting with the excellent news that the state government was able to come up with a balanced budget of $33.3 billion. Tennessee’s budget has remained within the guidelines set forth and is balanced and expected to pass without issue. This is a big plus for the state and its residents, especially in light of the fact that many states are suffering from huge budget deficits with no relief in sight.
Hill went on to explain that Tennessee was not only able to balance its budget and stay on track, but it is also an excellent place for businesses. He said first and foremost, Tennessee manages its budget and does not allow it to get out of control. Secondly, the state pays its bills and debts in a timely fashion. Example, the state of Tennessee is number two in the nation for best roads; however, unlike Texas who is number one but carries a huge debt for road construction and repair, Tennessee pays as it goes and carried no road debt. Hill touched on the fact that officials are looking at a possible gasoline tax increase but pointed out that there has not been an increase since 1989.
Education, especially the replacing of Common Core Federal Standards with new Tennessee State Standards, is a very hot topic currently. Work will continue on creation and implementation of the new TN Standards before the 2017/2018 school year. Governor Bill Haslam has an education initiative called “Drive to 55” which is a push for 55% of all Tennesseans to have some sort of post-secondary certificate, diploma, or degree. Now that Promise Tennessee is in effect (paying for students to attend any state community college free of charge for at least two years) Hill and Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey’s attention is on getting higher education closer to the students of Johnson County. Both have been working diligently on getting North East State Community College a full campus in the county, as well as working with TCAT-Tennessee Center for Applied Technology. For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.