UPDATE: Haslam budget cuts state jobs but includes raise
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam's first budget proposal eliminates nearly 1,200 government positions, gives a raise to remaining state workers and makes the deepest spending cuts in higher education and TennCare.
The new Republican governor's $30 billion budget plan sticks close to the blueprint from his Democratic predecessor for coping with the end of $2 billion in federal stimulus grants that helped offset the steep revenue drop of the Great Recession.
The state's revenue collections have improved in recent months, but the governor has said Tennessee's finances won't fully rebound until 2014.
One major change Haslam made in former Gov. Phil Bredesen's cost-cutting plan would restore $30 million to keep open the privately-owned Whiteville Correctional Facility in Hardeman County. Bredesen had wanted to close the prison and move inmates elsewhere.
To see the whole speech click here.
To read the whole speech click here.
Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney released the following statement in response to Governor Bill Haslam's State of the State Address:
"In November, Tennesseans voted for a leaner and more accountable state government. Tonight, Governor Haslam laid out a bold and responsible plan about how to reform the way our state government does business. This plan includes setting clear priorities in our state budget, encouraging entrepreneurship to create an environment for more good-paying jobs, and elevating student achievement in our public schools," said Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney.
"The Governor delivered to the Legislature a budget that is not only sensible, but also tangible; taxpayers will directly see the impact of how prioritized spending can have a significant impact on their state, city and community," concluded Devaney.
Majority Leader Gerald McCormick (R—Chattanooga) issued the following statement at the conclusion of Governor Bill Haslam's first State of the State Address:
"I thank Governor Haslam for outlining responsible and conservative budget priorities. There truly is a new reality in governing, and this budget reflects that in very real terms. His focus on creating the right framework for accelerating job growth, excellence in education, and fiscal restraint is clearly evident. As Majority Leader, I'm proud to sponsor the common sense measures which are his legislative initiatives and look forward to continue working with Governor Haslam and his team on this proposal."