AP breaks down Gov. Bill Lee's proposed Tennessee state budget
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee’s Gov. Bill Lee on Monday unveiled his $41.8 billion budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year. The spending plan includes increases for teacher pay and more funds for COVID-19 relief efforts, buoyed by better-than-expected revenues during the COVID-19 pandemic. The budget proposal needs ultimate approval from the Republican-dominant General Assembly. Here’s a look at the highlights:
— $120.1 million for a 4% total increase to the fund that allows for pay raises for teachers and other school worker positions.
— $110 million for various literacy initiatives.
— $10 million for 10 new vocational education sites under the Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education program also known as GIVE.
— $24 million to help charter schools pay for buildings and campuses.
— $63.2 million for 4% salary increases in higher education.
— $8 million for an expansion at the Oak Ridge Institute.
— $6.1 million for the University of Tennessee system’s planned acquisition of Martin Methodist College.
— $150 million into a reserve for any additional COVID-19 related costs that arise.
— $6.6 million for a pilot program to extend postpartum coverage for women on TennCare from 60 days to 12 months.
— $6.5 million to serve more uninsured Tennesseans with a serious mental illness, with a focus on children.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE, PUBLIC SAFETY
— $9.5 million for salary increases for probation and parole officers.
— $17.7 million to cover anticipated increase in incarceration costs related to increased penalties for gun-related crimes included in a bill that would eliminate the need to get a permit to carry a handgun in the state.
— $2.3 million to expand body cameras to the rest of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
— $1.2 million to create a new Tennessee Emergency Management Agency region in Chattanooga.
— $4.4 million for 20 additional Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agents.
— $1.2 million for 10 additional state troopers.
— $6.5 million to replace a 1970s-era helicopter with a new one.
— $200 million to increase broadband internet through grants and tax credits.
— $135 million in a fund for railways, airports and aeronautics.
— $8 million in tourism initiatives to attract visitors.
— $95 million in economic development grants.
— Adds $50 million more in the rainy day fund, to bring the total to $1.5 billion, not including TennCare reserves.
— $61 million for a 4% raise for state employees in executive branch agencies.
— $200 million in local government grants for various items, ranging from IT hardware upgrades to road projects and capital maintenance.
— $5.3 million for upgrades to move the state fair to Wilson County from Nashville.
— $931 million for capital maintenance and improvement projects.
— $30 million to eliminate deferred maintenance and improve accessibility at state parks.