Press Release from the Office of Gov. Bill Haslam, May 16, 2011:
Reflects strategic investments with reduced spending and increased reserves
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has filed an amendment with the General Assembly that adjusts next year’s budget proposal to reflect new estimates on increased state revenues. The supplemental appropriations amendment (SB2090/HB2139) includes funding that was not included in the budget the governor presented in March, which was based on earlier revenue projections.
“I am pleased that because of increased revenue collections my administration is able to make strategic investments in valuable programs to assist some of Tennessee’s most vulnerable citizens,” Haslam said. “This budget amendment improves our original proposal not only with funds for key projects and services, but we also continue to reduce spending and preserve our savings.”
“We did what Tennesseans do in their households – we evaluated our needs, we evaluated our resources, and we set priorities,” Haslam continued. “Our budget decisions reflect practical, conservative principles.”
Notable funding priorities in the governor’s budget amendment include:
- $71.3 million for disaster relief resulting from recent storms and flooding.
- $4.7 million for the Department of Intellectual Disabilities Services to restore residential rates.
- $1.9 million for mental health services for residents of Northeast Tennessee through the Mountain State Health Alliance.
- $8.5 million to restore previously scheduled rate reductions of 8.5 percent to mental health providers in TennCare.
- $5 million for payments to the Memphis Regional Medical Center, Nashville General Hospital and Jellico Community Hospital.
- $3.5 million additional for smoking cessation assistance in TennCare.
- $6.9 million grant for three programs at Meherry Medical College.
- $220,000 for first-year debt service on construction bonds for $22.6 million, 108-bed State Veterans’ Home in Clarksville.
- $2.5 million for the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.
- $1 million recurring to limit the impact of the Hall Income Tax on eligible seniors 65 years and older, beginning in fiscal year 2012-2013.
- $19.9 million additional for lottery scholarships to fund students’ ability to utilize them during summer school.
- $5 million to the University of Memphis for operations on the Lambuth campus in Jackson.
- $21.1 million for state building maintenance, plus $1 million for a statewide capital improvements master plan for Higher Education and state facilities.
- $16.5 million for a potential major economic development expansion project.
“While this modest growth in revenues is encouraging, it is important to remember that Tennessee has avoided more than $800 million in cuts the past couple of years with one-time funding that is no longer available,” said Haslam. “This budget includes $160 million in non-recurring dollars that won’t be available next year, so we will continue to balance the needs of our citizens with the ‘new normal’ of less revenue with which to fund our priorities.”
The budget amendment assumes a reimbursement of approximately $82 million in Medicaid funding errors, which the federal government says is owed to the state. Several healthcare-related investments are contingent on receiving those funds, as well as higher education investments:
- $15.7 million for nursing home funding.
- $7.9 million for TennCare enrollee services (lab and x-ray, dental, transportation).
- $3.4 million additional for Home Health Provider Services.
- $15.9 million in additional funding for capital outlay expenditures in Higher Education.
The General Assembly is expected to consider the budget this week.