Tuesday, February 2, 2010

TN budget proposal raises fees, limits TennCare

Governor's $28B plan could eliminate more than 1,300 state jobsBy Chas Sisk • THE TENNESSEAN • February 2, 2010 The cost of a driver's license could double, TennCare recipients could face caps on their coverage and more than 1,300 state jobs could be eliminated, Gov. Phil Bredesen said Monday as he delivered a budget proposal that he said would help Tennessee weather the recession. Bredesen presented a $28.41 billion spending plan that would tap the state's reserve fund and raise some fees to deal with stagnant sales-tax collections and the loss of federal stimulus money over the next budget year. His plan, which can be viewed at http://tn.gov/, calls for cutting $200.7 million in state spending from TennCare, the state's biggest program, and reducing the work force by about 2 percent. But the state would also set aside $202 million from reserves and other cash pools to help it avoid deeper layoffs and cuts, including some that would have been made to health, mental health and children's services. Bredesen also said he would tap reserves to pay a 3 percent bonus for state workers, who have gone without a raise since 2007. "It is raining hard enough that we can use some reserves to soften the worst of the cuts," the governor told lawmakers. Bredesen released his budget on the same day that he made his eighth and final State of the State address to a joint session of the state legislature. Overall, the $28 billion budget is about 5 percent less than this year's $30 billion spending plan. To Read the rest of the article click here

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