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Politics

Revised Budget Bad News for State Workers, Higher Education

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — Gov. Bill Haslam says he won't be able to give state employees and teachers a pay increase next year due to an ongoing decline in revenue collections.

The Republican governor discussed updates to his budget proposal with reporters yesterday. Haslam says poor revenue collections are forcing him to make $150 million in reductions for the remainder of this budget year, and $160 million for next year.

House Democratic leader Craig Fitzhugh is criticizing the updated budget, charging that the Haslam Administration is failing to live up to its promises.

“We were supposed to be the fastest growing state in teacher pay. That’s obviously not going to happen now. We made a small commitment to our state employees for at least a portion of a cost of living raise. That’s not going to happen now.”

Fitzhugh also notes Haslam won’t be funding the new outcomes based budget formula for Tennessee higher education, which will likely mean stiff tuition increases for students.

Tax collections are off by about $248 million. Haslam says state officials are investigating why businesses taxes, in particular, continue to fall short of projections.