Letter from Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; May 3, 2012:
Tuesday night the 107th General Assembly adjourned, and I’m extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished working together. Since unveiling a comprehensive legislative agenda in early January, our administration has focused on key reforms that lower taxes, continue improvement of our state’s education system and enable us to recruit, retain and reward the best and brightest employees. Here’s a closer look at the work we’ve been doing over the past several months:
- Significant reform of the state’s outdated employment system;
- Lowering the inheritance tax and the state’s portion of the sales tax on food;
- A complete rewrite of Tennessee’s school accountability system to complement Tennessee’s waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law;
- An expansion of the FastTrack grant program specifically to assist in recruiting investment to rural communities;
- Measures aimed at improving public safety that include combating prescription drug abuse, mandatory sentencing for repeat domestic violence offenders, and tougher sentencing for certain gang-related crimes and gun possession by those with prior felonies;
- And significant reform of the state’s boards and commissions to improve efficiency and accountability for those organizations.
In addition to these initiatives, I’m incredibly proud of the responsible and balanced budget the legislature approved this year. It includes a balance of strategic investments, thoughtful reductions and savings for the future.
Lieutenant Gov. Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell were committed to making this year’s legislative session efficient and effective. I enjoy working with them, appreciate their leadership and congratulate them in adjourning earlier than any General Assembly has since 1998. That is what Tennessee taxpayers expect of all of us – to get our work done at the lowest cost and in an efficient and effective way
Over the next several months, we will continue to focus on improving the way we provide services to Tennesseans. Just this week, we launched the new TN.gov – it’s more user-friendly and just a first step in improving the state’s online services.
Our customer-focused government team is also hard at work. Since the release of our administration’s Top to Bottom Review of each state department, this group has focused on implementing a number of those changes and identifying new ways to streamline government.
As always, I’m interested in hearing your feedback on the things we’re working on – whether it’s the progress we made this legislative session, the new TN.gov, or maybe you have an idea for improving government that you would like to share.
All the best to you and your family,