TN Senator: 'Disaster' to cut funding over monument removal - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

TN Senator: 'Disaster' to cut funding over monument removal

Senator Lee Harris (Source: WMC Action News 5) Senator Lee Harris (Source: WMC Action News 5)

Memphis lawmakers are pushing back after funding for the city was slashed in retaliation for Memphis removing its Confederate statues.

Republican state lawmakers in Nashville agreed to cut $250,000 of money the state planned to provide Memphis for its bicentennial celebration next year.

Democratic Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris said the action sets a dangerous precedent, and could open the door for others to suggest elected officials be removed from office or even put in jail.

“What the City of Memphis did by removing the Confederate monuments was lawful, according to those who have looked closely at the matter. Yesterday’s action by some Republicans in the Tennessee House to cut some funding - $250,000 - from Memphis as retribution was wrong.

“We should all be worried by the action of Republicans in control of the Tennessee House, as this sets up a dangerous precedent. It means that local elected officials can be punished for lawful decisions that end up rubbing powerful elected officials in Nashville the wrong way.

“It means we are at a point in our state, when our lop-sided Republican government has decided it will openly punish political opponents and use government force to do it. We are headed for disaster.

“It starts with a $250K financial penalty against the City. It might not be long before we have penalties against Memphis elected officials. Right after, someone will suggest elected officials should be forced from office or even jailed for their decisions or views. Disaster.”

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland continued to defend the city's actions in removing the statues. 

As of noon Wednesday, over $10,000 has already been crowdfunded in an effort to provide the city with its money anyway. Mayor Strickland is in support of the GoFundMe and is setting up a meeting with the creator.

Kendall Downing is reaching out to others for more reaction on the decision to cut funding. Hear from him tonight on WMC Action News 5 at 6.

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