Notes from Nashville

Notes from Nashville

By: By Rep. Mark Maddox

The second session of the 105th General Assembly got underway last Tuesday and we hit the ground running.
The House Finance, Ways & Means Committee immediately received an update from Finance and Administration Commissioner Dave Goetz and Treasurer Dale Sims on the shortfall in this year’s state revenues.
Our first priority is to be good stewards of the people’s money and that is a priority I take very seriously. Commissioner Goetz informed us that projected revenues are slated to be short by approximately $150 million.
He attributed the shortfall, in large part, to Franchise & Excise Taxes that were refunded due to mortgage backed securities directly connected to the sub-prime mortgage crisis.
Treasurer Sims added that the corporate profit outlook is not what it was a year ago. More specific numbers from the fourth quarter of 2007, including revenues generated during the holiday season, are expected to be released later this month.
We will take a hard look at the upcoming budget, as well as the revised expectations of revenues, and decide what actions will need to be taken in order to produce a balanced budget.
Unlike Congress, we are required to pass a balanced budget each year and we have done that consistently.
Last year was an unusually good year in terms of revenues, and thankfully we put $250 million in the state’s savings account called the Rainy Day Fund, raising it to the highest total in Tennessee’s history.
I don’t believe we’ll need to tap into our fund this year, but I have peace of mind knowing we’re prepared for hard times.
Other issues we will tackle include expanding access to college for our children through funding a better school system, expanding lottery scholarships, and helping returning veterans.
We will also look at economic development issues such as broadband access, enhancing Tennessee’s ability to attract business, and encouraging expansion in existing industry.
The General Assembly has begun its work and I look forward to hearing from you as the session gets rolling.
Please call me at 1-800-449-8366, extension 17847 or email me at rep.mark.maddox@legislature.state.tn.us.
Or send me a letter at G19-A War Memorial Building, Nashville, TN 37243. Your advice is essential to making this government work properly.
WCP 1.17.08

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