Feb. 16, 2010 - Below are highlights from Governor Phil Bredesen’s proposed budget as announced in his State of the State address on Feb. 1. This proposed budget must still go through the legislative process and be approved by the legislature before it could be enacted. Changes may be made by the legislature at any point until a budget is passed.
• Budget reductions for higher education will average 6% unless proposed tax and fee increases, plus decisions about inconsistencies/inequities in tax law, are not passed. Without additional revenue sources, the reductions for higher education will increase 3% for a total of 9%.
• A 3% one-time bonus would be provided for state and higher education employees. (While it was unclear where funding for this bonus will come from, it may be paid through state reserves.)
• No capital outlay projects were funded, but several capital maintenance projects were, including four projects for TTU: the Craft Center guardrail, roofing, second-phase waterproofing at the RUC and cooling efficiency.
• The 401k match for employees would continue up to $50 per month.
• Research at the University of Tennessee (Knoxville) and the University of Memphis was stressed, with both schools challenged to become Top-25 research institutions among their peer groups.
• Around 1,000 state jobs would be eliminated, including currently filled positions. Some 363 other positions previously considered for cuts would be saved and funded through state reserves and increased taxes/fees.
• The state’s rainy-day reserve funds will be used to cover a portion of the budget.