SPENCER, Tenn. (WKRN) — Gov. Bill Lee (R-TN) was clear when asked why he wouldn’t dip into the Tennessee “Rainy Day Fund”.

“Conservative fiscal policy includes having a savings account, a healthy savings account,” he said. “One that, when we hit a recession that may be coming, or when we have a serious economic downturn, that our state is prepared for that.”

Lee took questions from News 2 while at his annual Rural Opportunity Summit—an event he started a few years ago aimed at helping the state’s financially distressed and at-risk counties.

“You should be able to meet with those cabinet leaders of each one of those departments,” Lee said to a small crowd at the summit. “Interact with them, understand how they serve in your community, how we can better serve you – that’s what this is about.”

The governor has spent a good chunk of time the last few weeks in budget hearings. The hearings see each department of the government present to the governor and his finance staff why they’re requesting a specific amount of money next fiscal year.

“We need to invest in our workforce. You talked about the Department of Children’s Services,” Lee said. “We all know there’s a real need there to alleviate the strain of the lack of workforce there and turnover. We need to invest in that and will be. The same with the Department of Correction.”

The next step for the budget is for Lee to finalize it and send it to the General Assembly for approval early next year.