‘Hard Decisions’ Await

Wrapping up his four-day marathon of state agency budget hearings this week, Gov. Bill Haslam said he hasn’t made any decisions yet about what he’ll cut and how much — but said all departments in his administration probably won’t be facing “worst-case scenarios” in the coming fiscal year.

“That’s obviously my firm hope,” Gov. Bill Haslam told reporters after his last hearing on Capitol Hill Thursday. Departments were asked to present plans for instituting 1 percent and 2 percent cuts to their budgets.

Haslam peppered commissioners from 26 different agencies with questions about their funding requests and the programs that will go away when federal stimulus dollars run out this year.

“We have to now go back and make those hard decisions, and I think they’re even harder than I thought they would be,” the governor said. “It’s nothing different that what we expected or than any other state is going through.”

Proposals agency heads put on the table ranged from eliminating TennCare coverage for end-of-life counseling to limiting lottery scholarships and closing state-owned swimming pools.

Here are some of the news reports covering those proposals:

Haslam Takes Up Task of Trimming Down Spending

Self-Service Kiosks Proposed for Quicker DL Renewals

State Tax Collections in December Expected to be Strong

End of Life Counseling May End with TennCare Cuts

Official Bemoans Mental Health Cuts

State Eyes Freeing Felons Early and Cut Jail Payments

Haslam Not Ready to Limit Lottery Scholarships

Limited HOPE Scholarship Awards to Wealthy are Weighed

Tenn. Budget Cuts Could Affect Summer Pool Plans

Tenn. Agency Head Likens Budget Cuts to Amputation

Gibbons Proposed Cutting 29 Troopers

Governor Haslam Warns of Cuts

Buy State Cars, Save State Money?

The Snow Budget is Blown

Haslam Says Tenn. Will Cover Costs of Education Growth, But Other Deep Cuts Still Coming

Corrections Department May End Convict Work Crews, Provide Early Release