Executive Budget Hearings Planned This Week

Gov. Bill Haslam is scheduled Monday to launch preliminary budget hearings with the various high-ranking administration officials whose departments make up the bulk of Tennessee state government.

Haslam’s Department of Finance staff, led by Commissioner Larry Martin, will assist the governor during the hearings, as will Chief Operating Officer Greg Adams and State Budget Director David Thurman.

As has typically been the case during his five-year tenure thus far, the Republican governor is asking that agency heads calculate spending-reduction “contingency” plans that are lower than last year’s outlays.

In August, Commissioner Martin instructed departments to plot out reductions of 3.5 percent “that will not affect the over appropriations,” wrote Department of Finance spokeswoman Lola Potter in an email to TNReport last week. Agency heads have also been tasked with listing “base reductions that would offset a proposed cost increase request.”

During much of Haslam’s time as governor, the state’s economy performed below expectations, and therefore brought in less tax revenue than anticipated. This year, however, state government is collecting more taxpayer dollars than anticipated when the current fiscal year spending plan was finalized last spring.

Tennessee’s State Funding Board recently estimated that sales and other tax over-collections could total nearly $350 million by fiscal year’s end next summer. Members of the state’s funding board include Haslam, martin, Comptroller Justin Wilson, Secretary of State Tre Hargett and Treasurer David Lillard.

The Haslam administration budget hearings will commence Monday morning and continue each day of the week until completion on Friday afternoon. The proceedings can either be viewed live online or later as archived files.

Below it the schedule:

Monday, November 30, 2015

9:45-10:45 a.m. Human Services
10:45-11:15 a.m. Tourist Development
2:45-3:15 p.m. Financial Institutions
3:15-3:45 p.m. Commerce and Insurance
3:45-4:45 p.m. Economic & Community Development

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

8:45-9:45 a.m. Health Care Finance & TennCare
9:45-10:30 a.m. Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities
1:30-2:30 p.m. Children’s Services
2:30-3:30 p.m. Safety & Homeland Security
3:30-4:00 p.m. Revenue

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

9:45-10:45 a.m. Education
10:45 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Higher Education
2:00-2:30 p.m. Education Lottery
2:30-3:00 p.m. Military
3:00-3:30 p.m. Labor and Workforce Development
3:30-4:00 p.m. Agriculture

Thursday, December 3, 2015

9:30-10:30 a.m. Correction
10:30-11:00 a.m. Environment & Conservation
11:00-11:30 a.m. TBI
1:30-2:30 p.m. Mental Health & Substance Abuse
2:30-3:15 p.m. Health

Friday, December 4, 2015

9:00-10:00 a.m. Transportation
10:00-10:30 a.m. Finance and Administration
1:15-2:00 p.m. General Services
2:00-2:45 p.m. Human Resources
2:45-3:15 p.m. Veterans Services