Don’t Take that Federal Money

That’s what Tennessee is considering regarding Federal education funding transfers—$1.8 billion worth, especially since the money comes with mandates and other strings. Breaking the addiction to Federal dollars will sting: Tennessee has collected some $14.85 billion in its own tax revenues through August of this year, which projects to about $22.28 billion for the year; those $1.8 billion represent about 8% of Tennessee’s domestic income.

To see if such a rejection is “feasible,”

Tennessee lawmakers appointed a 10-member panel to determine whether the state can reject $1.8 billion in federal education funding over mandates attached to the money, such as standardized testing.
The group, which consists of five senators and five representatives and includes two Democrats, will “report on the feasibility of the state rejecting federal funds and recommend a strategy to reject certain federal funds or eliminate unwanted restrictions placed on the state due to the receipt of such federal funds if it is feasible to do so[.]”

Tennessee’s House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R, 25th District):

Any time the federal government sends money, there are always strings attached to those dollars, and there is always a possibility that it opens the state up to other regulations or restrictions[.]

The sting would be worth it, though. Any time it’s possible for a State to get its domestic affairs out from under the Federal government’s…thumb…is a good time to do so. I know of no statute, Federal or State, requiring any State to accept Federal transfers. In the event, it’s straightforward for a State to adjust or rescind any State law that applies such a restriction.

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