Rep. Mike Sparks: Let’s Keep Tennessee Moving Forward for Everyone

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Thanks to conservative leadership in the Tennessee House of Representatives, the 2019 legislative session was incredibly successful. The 2019 budget passed by both Republicans and Democrats. I’m very proud that our state has been named one of the most fiscally stable states in America.

I’ve been fond of a quote from President Ronald Reagan —“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

Thankfully with the leadership of Governor Bill Lee and his business acumen he understands what President Reagan was saying. If you want government to serve, “We The People” then government should allow individuals and small businesses the FREEDOM to  make decisons and thrive.

As a small business owner and even as a partime college student oursuing my graduate degree I have personally seen government literally work against the best interest of The People. Yes, change is difficult, but we must continue to work to improve our government and make it work for everyone, including our small business community, the bedrock of our job creators. Governor Lee understands business and has a servant’s heart for the people of our great state. He’s been serving the people way before it was cool.

“Follow Me To Tennessee”

During my David Youree 5th grade field trip my book report was titled, “Follow Me to Tennessee.” I was very proud to have received an A. I’ve learned that when your heart is passionate about a cause-You cannot fail. I have always loved our great state, the opportunites it offers, our rich history from Memphis to Mountain City and its diversity – we truly are three states in one. Thankyou to everyone who have been a part of allowing me the opportunity to represent our community, our great state of Tennessee and most importantly — to SERVE YOU.

Katie Beckett Bill Signing with Gov. Bill Lee

Together, we passed one of the most fiscally responsible budgets in state history. It invests $239 million into the Rainy Day fund, bringing the state savings account up to a total of $1.1 billion. The budget also fully funds the Katie Beckett Waiver program, which provides life-saving medical services through TennCare for children with the most significant disabilities and highest medical needs, regardless of parental income levels. Finally, our budget cuts more than $35.2 million in taxes—including the $6 million gym tax, the $22 million professional privilege tax and a $2.5 million cut on fiber optic cable. As part of my commitment to reducing taxes on small business, we also passed my bill, House Bill 899, this year, which exempts taxes for monthly periodical newspapers.

We passed 16 Tax Cuts including my bill HB 899, I call it my “First Amendment & Tax Cut Bill,”

~Rep. Mike Sparks

In 2019, we made record-breaking investments in education, building upon our recent gains. An $11.3 billion total investment—including $6.6 billion in K–12 funding—will support our students, teachers and schools so that every child has an opportunity to obtain a high-quality education. This investment allocates $71 million to fund teacher salaries, $39.4 million for the state’s Basic Education Program to cover growth and inflation within the program, $40 million to secure our schools and $25 million to expand vocational and technical training opportunities for our future leaders through the GIVE initiative. We also gave children in some of our worst-performing school districts statewide a fighting chance at a quality education by passing legislation that establishes the Tennessee Education Savings Account pilot program.

$71 Million for Teacher Raises-Teachers, let’s make sure that money gets to you & Hold your school board accountable. (Yes, I do want a website that would create transparency and help inform teachers of those record investments in salaries and pay raises we’ve made in education. That’s not just my wordsTEA on their website says it as well).Additionally, we worked to improve access and the quality of care available to our citizens through the comprehensive CARE Plan. It is designed to transform healthcare through consumerism, increasing access, improving rural health systems and empowering patients to guarantee that  individuals and families can make all medical decisions instead of insurance companies or the government. As part of the plan, we paved the way for Tennessee to create a patient-centered system of care through the implementation of block grants. These block grants must convert the federal share of all medical assistance funding for Tennessee into an allotment that is tailored to meet our specific needs, which will enable our state to become a national health care leader.

Lawmakers also passed legislation that balances both the interests of our citizens to voice their opinion while also protecting the fundamental rights of police officers and their families from malicious or politically focused persecution, and we provided significant tools for our law enforcement communities to get fentanyl and other deadly, synthetic drugs off our streets.

Another piece of successful legislation that was particularly important to me was the work we did on updating our state’s statute of limitations. I was proud to sponsor legislation that asked for TACIR, Tennessee Advisory Council on Intergovernmental Relations to take up the issue of childhood sexual abuse and its adverse effects.The TACIR study request led to the successful passage of a bill that removed the statute of limitations for all felony sex crimes committed against children.

The legislature also passed my bill which makes it easier to prosecute second-degree murder cases by extending the statute of limitation from 15 years to any time after an offense is committed.

I am proud that Tennessee is leading on so many important issues. However, we have more work ahead. Thank you for the opportunity to continue serving our community. I am humbled by your support, and I will continue to fight for you!

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About the Author

Mike and Felicia recently celebrated 30-years of marriage
Rep. Mike Sparks (R) serves the 49th House District in the Tennessee General Assembly, which includes areas of Smyrna, LaVergne, Almaville and north Murfreesboro. Mike was born in Smyrna at the old Sewart Air Force Base where his late father was stationed. Mike graduated Smyrna High School, Motlow College and MTSU where he is currently working on a graduate degree in communications. Mike is the chairman of the Consumer Subcommittee. He also serves on the Insurance Committee, the Consumer and Human Resources Committee, the Property and Casualty Subcommittee and the Naming, Designating and Private Acts Committee. Feel free to contact Mike at rep.mike.sparks@capitol.tn.gov or at (615) 741-6829.

 

 

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