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AP breaks down Gov. Bill Lee's proposed Tennessee state budget

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capitol.tn.gov
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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:

EDUCATION

— $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.

HEALTH

— $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.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

— $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.

RESERVES

— Adds $50 million more in the rainy day fund, to bring the total to $1.5 billion, not including TennCare reserves.

GENERAL GOVERNMENT

— $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.

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