budget

May state revenue $53M above exepections

News release from Department of Finance and Administration

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee tax revenues exceeded budgeted estimates in May. Department of Finance and Administration Commissioner Larry Martin today announced that overall May revenues were $1.1 billion, which is $53.1 million more than the state budgeted.

“Total reported revenues in May reflect significant improvement compared to this time last year and were driven primarily by sales tax receipts,” Martin said. “Franchise and Excise taxes fell short of last year’s revenues and were below the monthly budgeted estimate.  All other tax revenues, taken as a group, were more than the May estimates.

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On Trump budget cuts for local governments in TN (where fed grants average $2,000 per person)

Tennessee is cited as an example of the negative impact of President Trump’s budget-cutting plans on state and local governments in a Politico story. Former Republican state Sen. Micheal Williams, now mayor of Union County and a self-described fiscal conservative, says he was stunned when he read the proposal.

“I thought, ‘Oh my God,’” Williams said. “I don’t know if they really thought this through.”

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TVA to cut spending, employees under Trump budget plan

The Tennessee Valley Authority’s preliminary budget plan for fiscal 2018, unveiled Tuesday by the Trump White House,  projects the agency will trim its capital spending next year by $677 million, cut its operating expenses by $263 million and trim its staff by another 316 employees compared with the current year.

Further from the Times Free Press:

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State revenue back on surplus track in April: $149K over budget estimate

News release from the Department of Finance and Administration

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  – Tennessee tax revenue exceeded budgeted estimates in April. Department of Finance and Administration Commissioner Larry Martin today announced that overall April revenues were $1.9 billion, which is $148.9 million more than the state budgeted.

“Total reported revenues in April reflect significant improvement over this time last year and were driven primarily by franchise and excise payments, sales tax receipts and business tax revenues,” Martin said.   “The Hall income tax posted a significant reduction from receipts received in April 2016 and was much less than budgeted expectations. All other tax revenues, taken as a group, were more than the April estimates.

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Rick Perry visits Oak Ridge as Trump pushes cuts to Department of Energy budget

Newly appointed Secretary of Energy Rick Perry toured several labs at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Y-12 National Security Complex Monday, reports the News Sentinel. The former Texas governor rode around in 3D-printed vehicles and talked about President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts for the Department of Energy.

According to Science Magazine, Trump’s proposed budget would cut $900 million, some 17 percent, of the $5 billion budget for DOE’s Office of Science. And it would eliminate DOE’s roughly $300 million Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.

“I know how to budget, I know how to manage and I know how to prioritize. Obviously what you see here, I happen to think is a high priority,” he said. “I have not been in the job long enough to go through line item by line item, but because the budgeting process is nigh upon us here, I’m doing my homework every day.

“Hopefully, we will be able to make that argument to our friends in Congress, that what DOE is involved with, particularly on the economic development side, plays a vital role not only in the security of America, but in the economic well-being of this country as we go forward,” he said.

Perry said the budgeting process was not his first rodeo, something ORNL Lab Director Thom Mason could relate to.

“I mean we’re an Office of Science lab, so if you reduce Office of Science budget by 17 percent we’re going to feel that … if that was the final answer I would be quite worried with how we would respond,” Mason said after the tour. “Having been through the budget process many, many times now I kind of recognize that you need to let things play out.”

Perry agreed and said he expects to see the proposed budget change before it is passed.

Hawkins County warned of state takeover unless budget deficit is fixed

Tennessee Comptroller Chief of Staff Jason Mumpower said Monday that Hawkins County’s budget situation is currently the worst in the state and there’s a possibility that the state would take over county finances, cutting funding to many agencies, reports the Kingsport Times News.

Mumpower addressed the Hawkins County Commission Budget Committee to warn of looming dire consequences.

If there is a state takeover of Hawkins County’s budget, Mumpower noted that on top of a property tax increase there would also be the elimination of 100 percent of all contributions, affecting funding for all volunteer fire departments, both rescue squads, Hawkins County EMS, the Hawkins County Humane Society and the Red Cross.

Other non-mandated spending on the block would be veterans services, industrial recruitment, the county’s agricultural extension agency, senior centers, libraries, Of One Accord, the Chip Hale Center and many others.

But those cuts wouldn’t be enough to balance Hawkins County’s budget. As of Monday, Hawkins County still faced a $1.6 million revenue deficit in the proposed 2017-18 budget. Even after all non-mandated spending was cut, the state would also likely impose a property tax rate increase, Mumpower said.

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Senate sends $37B state budget bill to governor with 28-2 vote

The Senate gave final legislative approval Monday evening to a $37 billion state budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, sending HB511 to Gov. Bill Haslam, who drafted the measure and went along with relatively minor legislative changes.

The Senate vote was 28-2. The two no votes came from Republican Sen. Mae Beavers of Mount Juliet and Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris, D-Memphis. The House approved the budget 83-2 on Friday.

The most lengthy debate on the Senate floor came over the so-called “Copeland bill,” which is required under a constitutional amendment promoted by former state Rep. David Copeland. It states that state spending exceeds growth in revenue for the coming year by $438 million.

Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, made a motion to have a vote on  the Copeland bill (HB514) before voting on the budget bill with Harris joining him in support. The motion failed, nine backing Gardenhire and 20 opposing.

The Copeland bill was approved 24-7.

House gets budget back on track with $55M boost in county highway funding

Gov. Bill Haslam’s $37 billion state budget bill got back on the tracks Friday after a derailment on the House floor Thursday.

The House approved the measure (HB511) by a lopsided 83-2 vote after a round of good will speeches that contrasted to cranky commentary the day before.

Approval came after all amendments adopted on Thursday were stripped off the bill and one major new one added that its sponsor, Republican Rep. Judd Mathney of Tullahoma, said was “negotiated long and hard last night.”

The amendment takes $55 million of surplus money that Haslam wanted to send to the state Department of Transportation for extra road construction money and instead sends the $55 million to all 95 counties, divided among them according to the formula now used to distribute state highway funds to the counties. It’s similar to an amendment proposed on Thursday by Rep. Jerry Sexton, R-Bean Station, that failed by one vote at the time.

House approval sets up a Senate vote on the budget bill Monday and, with approval there, both chambers will be in positon to adjourn the 2017 legislative session by Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.

Haslam’s budget derailed in House — at least for a day

Gov. Bill Haslam’s $37 billion state spending plan was at least temporarily derailed Thursday in the House as amendments were adopted that House Finance Committee Chairman Charles Sargent said threw the budget so far out of balance that he cannot vote for it.

The House wound up not taking a vote on the budget bill (HB511) – passage appeared somewhat in doubt — and adjourned until Friday morning. The Senate, which had been awaiting House approval before taking up the measure, adjourned until Monday.

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With some late additions and one testy exchange, $37B state budget poised for passage

The House and Senate Finance Committees approved Gov. Bill Haslam’s record $37 billion state budget for the coming fiscal year on Wednesday, setting the stage for floor approval of both chambers today.

The budget (HB511) incorporates funds from higher fuel taxes starting July 1 and spends close to $2 billion in surplus money, roughly half available for one-time spending – there’s $892 million for capital projects — and half built into the budget on a “recurring basis,” including pay raises for teachers and state employees and cuts in the current taxes on grocery food, corporate profits and investment income. The latter were tied into the bill raising fuel taxes, passed earlier.

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ABOUT THIS BLOG

Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.

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