Local lawmakers divided over war memorial funding

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Funding for a war memorial in Johnson City has revealed a division among local state lawmakers.

The Tennessee House’s budget includes $10,000 for the Washington County/Johnson City Veterans Memorial Park.

According to The Tennessean, Rep. Matthew Hill (R-Jonesborough) asked for the funding to be included despite deep spending cuts.

Sen. Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City) said in a news release Wednesday that the state cannot afford any extras and believes the final budget will not include funding for the memorial.

“It appears the House has included a $10,000 appropriation for our Johnson City Washington County Veterans Memorial,”Crowe said in part. “Knowing the dire situation we have found ourselves in, having to plug a billion hole in our budget created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Senate and House found early on that the dollars were just not there to entertain such worthy causes.  I know this amendment will not pass.”

On the floor of the House, Crowe pledged $10,000 of his own money for the war memorial. Sen. Jon Lundberg (R-Bristol) also pledged funds for the memorial.

Hill told News Channel 11 Wednesday night that he thinks Crowe is playing politics with veterans.

Crowe is running for Congress and faces Hill’s brother, Rep. Timothy Hill (R-Blountville), in the Republican primary.

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