“I will work to promote efficient government, keep taxes low, improve public education, and make our neighborhoods safer.”
“My career in economics has taught me that we encourage job growth and help small businesses when taxes are low and the size of government is limited. I would like to continue serving the citizens of our community in the state house by promoting conservative economic principles and family values.”
About Charlie Baum
Charlie was raised in Knoxville, attended college at Wake Forest University, and earned his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina where he met his wife, Kelly. Following graduation from U.N.C. Chapel Hill in 1999, he and Kelly moved to Murfreesboro where he began teaching economics for the Department of Economics and Finance at Middle Tennessee State University. He later served as department chair from 2008-2014. Bloomberg BusinessWeek, U.S. News and World Report, and the New York Times have cited his research on employment trends, wages, labor force participation rates, and employment benefits.
Charlie was elected in 2018 as a Republican to represent District 37 in the Tennessee State House. He serves as Vice Chairman of the House Finance, Ways, and Means Committee. Charlie also serves on the House Education Committee and the House Higher Education Sub-Committee
He served on the Rutherford County Commission from 2010 to 2018, chairing the commission’s Audit Committee and serving on the commission’s Budget, Finance, and Investment Committee.
Charlie currently is a member on the board for Oaklands Mansion. He is a past board member of the Community Foundation of Rutherford County, Murfreesboro Domestic Violence Center, the United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties, the Murfreesboro City Schools Foundation, the Linebaugh Library Foundation, and the American Heart Association. Charlie was a scout with the Boy Scouts of America and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout.
Charlie and Kelly have three children, Elizabeth (20), Anna Jane (18), and Charles (16), who either attend or graduated from the Siegel schools in Murfreesboro, and they are active members of First United Methodist Church in Murfreesboro.
“I have dedicated my life to teaching and public service because education is one of the best ways to help people help themselves. Being a public servant who is dedicated to ensuring we continue to have good quality local schools brings my experience full circle.”
Charlie Baum is an Economics Professor at MTSU and also serves as a Republican in the Tennessee State House of Representatives. He has developed a reputation for being a conservative who works to keep taxes low, eliminate wasteful spending, and reduce excessive government regulation.
Some of Charlie’s top priorities are increasing access to health care, lowering health care prices, and improving health care quality. He also is also working to support teachers, maintain high academic standards, and promote school choice.
Economics and the Budget
As Vice Chairman of the House Finance, Ways, and Means Committee, much of Charlie’s time in Nashville is spent working on the budget and in budget hearings. With Charlie’s help, Tennessee increased funding for education, health care, and transportation infrastructure, while providing a historic $300 million in tax cuts in 2022. The Hall income tax was eliminated. Additionally, the Tennessee General Assembly added $250 million to our Rainy-Day Fund to bring the total to a record-high $1.8 billion.
Due to continued growth and conservative management of state tax dollars, Tennessee’s bond rating is AAA. Tennessee is considered to be one of the best financially managed states in the nation. As evidence, U.S. News & World Report magazine ranks Tennessee third highest in the country (among 50 states) in fiscal stability.
Budget Highlights for 2022-2023
- $500M for career and technical education improvements in all middle and high schools
- $85.2M to increase the annual amount for HOPE scholarships
- $25.5M for summer learning camps for learning loss due to COVID-19
- $124.7M for teacher raises
- $100M in additional funds to speed up IMPROVE Act projects for roads and bridges
- $878M in economic development investments on Ford’s Blue Oval plant and area infrastructure (as a supplemental appropriation)
- $500M in economic development investment in a new Titans Stadium and downtown improvements (as a bond appropriation)
- $16M for 100 new highway patrol officers
- $224M for renovations and upgrades to state parks
- $33.8M for TN Foster’s Hope Program including child care vouchers for foster and adopted children
- $5M for Children Advocacy Centers for child abuse victims
- $19.9M for CHOICES home health services for the elderly and others in need
- $49M for Alzheimer’s medication for dually-qualified Medicaid and Medicare members
- $250M added to state rainy-day fund
- $350M added to the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS) to meet future commitments
Tax Cut Highlights for 2022-2023
- $96M for a food sales tax holiday for August
- $121M to remove the state portion of the license plate renewal fee for 1 year
- $204M for broadband tax relief for rollout, installation, and expansion (over three years)
- $9.7M to permanently eliminate the $400 professional privilege tax on additional occupations
- $320K to eliminate the state sales tax on gun safes for one year
- $360K to permanently eliminate the state sales tax on gold, silver, and precious metal bullion purchased as investments
- The Hall income tax is eliminated
Charlie is prioritizing K-12 and higher education funding to make historic investments that will provide Tennessee students with a transformative, world-class education. Tennessee completely overhauled the way schools are funded, changing from the Basic Education Program (BEP) to a system that focuses on each individual student, known as the Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement (TISA). Fast-growing school districts like Rutherford County will receive additional funds to help with our need to build school buildings to keep pace with population growth. With an additional $1 billion in recurring state financial support for K-12 education beginning in 2023-24, every school district in the state will receive more funds.
Among some of the investments in education, Tennessee will spend $500 million to expand career and technical education in 759 middle and high schools across the state. Charlie worked with the General Assembly to provide $125 million to increase teacher salaries and $25.5 million for summer learning camps to make up for learning lost due to COVID-19
Charlie also supported allocating $90 million to ensure state colleges and universities do not raise tuition fees this year and increase Tennessee HOPE Scholarship awards, which have not been increased since 2008. Coupled with no tuition increases at our state universities, Tennessee students will find it less financially stressful to access secondary education options.
Part of Charlie’s approach to healthcare reform has been to decrease costs by increasing market competition. A critical part of that is reforming the state’s Certificate of Need (CON) process. In 2021, the General Assembly passed House Bill 948, which reduces bureaucratic red tape by making the CON process quicker, easier, and less expensive. It reduces CON regulation of certain facilities and services, eliminates protectionist aspects of the CON process, and creates greater regulatory flexibility.
As part of the effort to help lower prescription drug costs, Charlie in 2022 supported legislation, House Bill 2661, which requires pharmacies to be reimbursed for at least the actual costs of medicine. Additionally, this legislation bans pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) from steering customers toward pharmacies they own instead of small, locally operated pharmacies.
Charlie also in 2022 supported House Bill 1686, which creates a pilot program, known as the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Respite Care Program, to provide home- and community-based services for those afflicted with this disease.
House Bill 2544 requires health benefit plans that provide coverage to a patient depending on age to include coverage for an annual mammography screening for the presence of breast cancer.
Additionally, Charlie supported a budget allocation of $25.5 million in 2022 to provide dental benefits for 610,000 adult Tennesseans on TennCare.
While Tennessee has one of the most secure elections systems in the country, Charlie supported legislation, House Bill 2331, that goes one step further by requiring each voting machine used by a county election commission to produce a voter-verifiable paper audit trail. The bill goes effect in 2024, ensuring election commissions have time to purchase the correct machines to meet the new standard.
Several exciting road projects are in planning stages or have broken ground, including the W. Jefferson Pike widening, Cherry Lane extension to I-840, Thompson Lane widening, Wilkinson Pike widening, Gateway Boulevard extension, Armory Drive realignment, New Salem Road widening, Battleground Drive widening, and multiple intersection improvements.
In an effort to reduce recidivism and ensure the successful reentry of our state’s prisoners into society, Charlie supported two pieces of legislation reforming our criminal justice system that passed the General Assembly in 2021.
First, House Bill 784, the “Alternatives to Incarceration Act,” provides alternatives to incarceration by expanding Tennessee’s successful Recovery Court System, which includes Veterans Courts, Mental Health Courts, and Drug Courts for those charged with misdemeanors. The bill establishes criteria for revoking community supervision status, updates the amount of time that an individual may be sentenced to probation, and limits the ability to revoke supervision for non-criminal violations of conditions.
Second, the “Reentry Success Act,” is a multi-pronged approach to help improve public safety and promote positive outcomes for those leaving incarceration. House Bill 785 establishes mandatory supervision, so all individuals exiting state custody have at least one year of supervised reentry integration. Currently, 37 percent of the felony population is returning to their communities without oversight. House Bill 785 seeks better returns on public safety investments by focusing on community supervision, parole processes, and oversight.
Charlie’s Legislation in 2022
In 2022, Charlie sponsored several bills that will produce positive outcomes for Tennesseans.
House Bill 324 will change the letter grade system for students in grades 9-12 from a 7-point scale to a 10-point scale (90-100=A, etc.). The purpose of this legislation is to ensure that Tennessee high school students are on equal footing with students from other states when applying for admission to competitive colleges and for scholarships. Currently, most states use a 10-point grading scale. Tennessee’s current 7-point grading scale puts our students at a disadvantage. This legislation will result in students from Tennessee receiving equivalent GPAs as students in surrounding states and will result in more scholarship dollars for Tennesseans.
House Bill 1728 makes government work better by clarifying the requirements for revenue bonds and adding flexibility to notice requirements.
House Bill 1844 designates the month of October annually as Economic Education Month to emphasize the importance of learning sound economic principles.
House Bill 2912 authorizes and creates the Rutherford County Board of Juvenile Detention Center Commissioners, subject to local government approval, to oversee the Juvenile Detention Center, its director, and the detention process.
House Bill 1845 is Charlie’s State Lending Transparency Act, which requires the Comptroller’s office to create a report on all state lending programs and state credit support programs to get a clearer picture of the amount of taxpayer dollars being loaned and to whom.
Charlie and his wife, Kelly, have three children, Elizabeth, Anna Jane and Charles. The Baums are active members of First United Methodist Church in Murfreesboro. Charlie is committed to protecting our family values here in Rutherford County.