UPDATED: Tennessee governor visits the Scenic City - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATED: Tennessee governor visits the Scenic City

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(WRCB) – Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam is in the Scenic City Thursday.

Governor Haslam is in town for the official grand opening of the Amazon.com fulfillment center.

Haslam took the opportunity to join the Chattanooga Rotary Club for their monthly luncheon.

Among the topics Gov. Haslam addressed at the Rotary Club was the state's budget.

"Everybody says run government like a business, until you do it. We were relentless in cutting where we could to save for needs." Haslam says. "The Tennessee budget has shrunk, overall from $32 billion to $31 billion."

The governor also discussed education and a renewed focus on business development in the state.

"You're seeing renewed focus on science and technology at UTC and MTSU. We're committed to BEP formula too, and restoring Rainy Day Fund," he says. "We're making headway on primary-secondary education reform and seeking waiver from federal No Child Left Behind, to develop Tennessee standards."

Haslam says the state is "pushing fast-track grants to companies to create jobs," but says the process needs to be transparent on who is getting them and for what reason.

But the he concedes, "incentives won't work if workforce isn't trained or prepared for jobs they'd bring."

"Grade me in 20 years on how well we moved the needle in preparing workforce."

The Amazon facilities in Hamilton and Bradley counties employ nearly 1,500 workers.

Haslam reached a deal with the Seattle-based online retailer to open as many as five fulfillment centers in the Volunteer State. As part of that deal, Tennessee agreed not to collect sales taxes on purchases made by state residents until 2014.

The governor will join state and local at the Enterprise South Amazon facility for their opening celebration Thursday at 3:00 p.m.

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