BTH: Mayor Lee Harris on 2020 Budget, Pre-K, Expungement and More

May 3, 2019

Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris joins WKNO-TV's Behind the Headlines this week to discuss the 2020 budget with Daily Memphian reporter Bill Dries and host Eric Barnes. Harris explains some of the budgeting challenges and effects of a current deficit in the 2019 budget, which Harris says the county will be dealing with for many years to come.

On Harris’ campaign trail, he advocated for expanding the Memphis Area Transit Authority. Harris says that his MATA goals are still in place. In September, he will present a plan for next year's budget to commissioners detailing some ways to achieve his goal. Harris admits that it will be a long process that will take several phases, but says that it’s needed in order to prevent unwarranted spending.

Harris also talks about the $5.5 million funding of Pre-K and $500,000 fund for early childhood education in Shelby County. Harris says that the Pre-K money comes from a variety of sources, including the federal government and philanthropic organizations. Early childhood education funding comes from Porter-Leath.

In addition, Harris says that he wants to expand Memphis’ tech businesses and believes one of the ways is to invest in startup companies.

Lastly, Harris explains that he would like to see Shelby County’s criminal expungement program expanded, and why it's important to do so.