State Budgets 2012: Tennessee



To see more state budget news and information, visit State Budgets 2012

Budget Background:

  • Fiscal Year Begins: July 
  • Frequency of Legislative Cycle: Annual
  • Legislative Session for 2012: Convened January 10, 2012, Adjourned May 1, 2012
  • Frequency of Budget Cycle: Annual

Learn more from the National Association of State Budget Officers

Budget News and Information: 2012

1/8/2012: TN College Fund, Taxes Tops Legislature's Agenda

The Tennessee legislature reconvenes Tuesday for four months of debate over cutting Hope Scholarships, cutting taxes, altering the public meetings and records laws for local government, broadening gun laws and selling wine in grocery stores. Other top agenda items will include a new $7 million anti-crime initiative proposed last week by Gov. Bill Haslam, how to expand and contract different programs in a $32 billion state budget, and whether to revise some of last year's major actions on evaluating teachers and requiring photo identification to vote.
1/30/2012: Haslam's Proposed Tennessee Budget Boosts Education, Cuts Youth Center Funding 
Gov. Bill Haslam today proposed a $30.08 billion state budget for 2012-13 that includes new funding in areas like economic development and education.But it also eliminates 1,166 state positions across state government, including 617 of them which are filled. It calls for closing Taft Youth Center in Pikeville as well as the Lakeshore Mental Health Institute in Knoxville.
Read More: Times Free Press
3/4/2012: Governor's Legislative Agenda Hits Challenges
Governor Haslam’s legislative agenda includes proposals on education and civil service reform, a crime package and reworking rules for economic incentive grants that have met resistance from legislators and advocacy groups. The governor says state government could be more effective and efficient if it were easier to hire, fire, promote, demote and lay off the estimated 34,000 state workers. 
Read More: Times Free Press
3/13/2012: Solar Tax Issues Facing New Debate in Tennessee
A fight is heating up in the Tennessee Legislature that has green energy companies decrying what they consider a major tax increase as Republicans look to eliminate an incentive for solar and other renewable power.
3/22/2012: Governor Reaches Agreement with Legislators to Repeal Inheritance Tax
Governor Bill Haslam has reached with fellow Republicans in the Tennessee General Assembly on repealing the inheritance tax. Currently, state law taxes any inheritance over $1 million and according to media accounts the negotiated deal would phase the tax out by 2016.
4/3/2012: Governor Proposes Amendment to Restore Funding to State Budget
Governor Bill Haslam has offered an amendment to his budget that would make $25 million in changes to the larger $30.2 billion plan. The changes would help restore $110 million in funding to the $160 million in cuts to "core services" first identified as reductions in last year's budget that had been delayed to this year because of the use of one-time federal money.
4/13/2012: Tennessee House Overwhelmingly Passes Phase Out of Estate Tax and Tax Cut for Groceries
The Tennessee House voted 88-8 to phase out its state inheritance tax , and 96-0 to cut the food tax on groceries from 5.5 percent to 5.25 percent. Republicans hailed the estate tax cut as a way to keep retirees from moving out of state, and Democrats touted the need to reduce the economic hardship for working families by cutting their food bills. Both measures were part of Republican Governor Bill Haslam's legislative agenda this year.
Read More: CNBC
4/20/2012: State Senate Committee Advances Bill Requiring Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients
The Senate Finance Committee backed a measure introduced by Senator Stacey Campfield by a vote of 8-3 that would test people for drugs as a condition for receiving welfare benefits. The legislation was amended from an earlier version that would require all applicants who have been convicted drug convictions within the last five years due to constitutional objections from the State Attorney General. The newly passed version would apply to applicants that were suspected to be taking illicit drugs during the screening process.
4/26/2012: Charges of "Pork-Barrel Spending" Delay Budget Consideration
Accusations that Senate Republicans slipped "pork barrel" projects into the state budget derailed consideration and passage of the $31 billion plan. The House Finance Committee voted to strip $1.5 million in Senate-approved spending amendments from the budget, which caused Senate Leadership to delay floor consideration and raised the potential that House earmarks may be cut as well.
5/2/2012: TN House Passes Budget, Reduces Spending, Sends $50 Million to Rainy Day Fund
The House of Representatives recently passed the Conference Committee majority report for the Fiscal Year 2012-13 budget by a vote of 64-28-1. The plan was praised by Republicans for cutting spending by 2% and cut taxes, in addition to sending $50 million in funding to the state's rainy day fund to offset future financial problems.
Read More: Clarksville Online
5/4/2012: 107th General Assembly Finishes - A Summary of Budget and Tax Issues
The Governor's $31 billion budget passed by large margins and cut spending, while socking away money for the state's rainy day fund. Several other tax and budget bills passed during the session, including:
  • New Amazon Tax Collection - The online retailer would be required to start collecting state sales taxes in 2014.
  • Food Sales Taxes - State sales taxes on food were reduced from 5.5% to 5.25%.
  • Civil Service Reform - Legislation was passed that made it easier to hire and fire state employees.

Read More: Jackson Sun


Budget News and Information: Previous Budget Cycles

5/4/2011: Haslam eases budget cuts to health care

The Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities will receive $15 million more than expected, and TennCare will pay hospitals about $24 million more for emergency room visits and cesarean sections, according to a new budget plan released Tuesday by Gov. Bill Haslam.

Meharry Medical College will get also $13 million more than anticipated from the state, and nursing homes could get as much as $47 million more from TennCare.

Read more: Tennessean

4/24/2011: TN colleges prepare for cuts but may get help from Haslam's budget

Tennessee colleges and universities are bracing for their third year of state budget cuts. But what the state takes with one hand, it may give back with the other.

Read more: The Tennessean

4/12/2011: Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam defends pay raises for his Cabinet:
Some salaries rise 11% more than predecessors'

Gov. Bill Haslam told rank-and-file state employees Tuesday that he "won't apologize" for the hefty pay hikes he gave more than half his Cabinet officers over what their predecessors in the Bredesen administration were paid. Most state employees are expected to get a 1.6 percent pay increase.

Read more: Memphis Commercial Appeal

4/5/2011: Gov. Haslam's budget proposal draws few complaints

Gov. Bill Haslam's budget proposal for the state of Tennessee has drawn few complaints, a sign that the plan may pass easily through the legislature.

Republican lawmakers say they are not seeing significant opposition to Haslam's $30 billion spending plan for the fiscal year that starts July 1, which calls for cutting 1,180 jobs and levying a $450 million special assessment on hospitals.

Votes on the budget will probably not come for another month.

Read more: The Tennessean

2/10/11: Governor proposes special fund to shield core services from cuts

Gov. Bill Haslam said Feb. 9 he likely will use a special $186.2 million "core services" reserve set up by his predecessor and the General Assembly to delay some of the state's worst budget cuts for another year. "Our plans are we probably will use that this year," Haslam said, but he pointed out it in no way offsets $1.5 billion in federal stimulus, reserve and other funds that are going away July 1.

Read more: Times Free Press