Haslam: “The message is that we can’t stop now.”

Gov. Bill Haslam gives a preview of his State of the State address in Nashville on Jan. 29, 2018. (Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Gov. Bill Haslam gives a preview of his State of the State address in Nashville on Jan. 29, 2018. (Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has given this preview of his final State of the State address in a meeting with reporters at the state Capitol on Monday:


I thought I’d give a quick preview of tonight’s State of the State address. As you know it’s my last – eighth and final. I will spend some time looking back over the past seven years.

Some highlights for us include the lowest unemployment rate in the state’s history, and job growth rate greater than 17 percent, which is far above the national average. And nearly 400,000 net new private sector jobs.

As you’ve heard before, the fastest-improving state in the nation in math, science, and English results. And the highest graduation rate in the state’s history. With the new money will be added to the proposed 2019 budget, we will have handed $1.5 billion in K-12 education in our time here with $500 million of that new money going to teacher salaries.

Gov. Bill Haslam gives a preview of his State of the State address in Nashville on Jan. 29, 2018. (Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Gov. Bill Haslam gives a preview of his State of the State address in Nashville on Jan. 29, 2018. (Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

We will have more than $500 million — $572 million, to be exact – in tax cuts. Including a 30 percent cut on the one tax that everyone pays, and that’s the grocery tax. We will have tripled the state’s Rainy Day Fund. If you look at our savings account, it will be three times what it was when we came in, in this budget as proposed.

The message is that we can’t stop now. We’ve made great progress. But the exact wrong thing to do would be to change the direction. The progress that we’ve made in jobs, in in education, and in running a very effective government.

So highlights in this new budget will be:

  • More than $200 million in new state funding for K-12 education, including additional funds for teacher compensation.
  • Nearly $100 million for higher education initiatives.
  • $128 million for job growth investments, including programs that target rural communities. We’ll talk a lot about rural communities’ growth tonight.
  • A $30 million investment that you’ve heard about before for our Tennessee Together Plan to attack the opioid crisis facing us.
  • And the increase to our Rainy Day Fund will bring that total to $850 million.

Gov. Bill Haslam gives a preview of his State of the State address in Nashville on Jan. 29, 2018. (Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Gov. Bill Haslam gives a preview of his State of the State address in Nashville on Jan. 29, 2018. (Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

I think maybe one of the more important things to know here is that this budget in total money is basically flat to last year. It will be almost even in total dollars with last year. In state dollars, Commissioner Martin will elaborate on this, we’re actually $200 million lower than we were last year.

The significance of that is this: If this budget is approved, over the eight years that we’ve been here, state government will grow on average 2% a year. You might say, how does that rate? The best numbers we have going back 40 years, the state has averaged about 7% growth. We will have averaged 2% during the eight years we are here.

And obviously that is significant and has led us to be able to cut taxes, lower our debt and raise the amount of money in our savings account.

Gov. Bill Haslam gives a preview of his State of the State address in Nashville on Jan. 29, 2018. (Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Gov. Bill Haslam gives a preview of his State of the State address in Nashville on Jan. 29, 2018. (Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

2 Responses to Haslam: “The message is that we can’t stop now.”

  • Michael Lottman says:

    The lack of increase in spending and revenue and the flat budget amount from this year to next year are nothing to brag about. They simply bespeak an unwillingness or inability to meet the emerging needs of a growing population, continued under-funding of public education, and deliberate indifference toward the opioid epidemic and other healthcare needs (including disappearance of rural hospitals) that are not being addressed but could have been with minimal effort the last several years. Now our carefree, inoffensive governor is leaving us holding the bag. We will not remember him so fondly in the years to come.

  • Frank Cagle says:

    Under-funding education? You don’t think a $1.5 billion increase is enough?

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