Bredesen signs annual spending plan into law

Bredesen signs annual spending plan into law

Posted: Wednesday, June 25, 2008 6:53 pm
By: AP

NASHVILLE (AP) — Gov. Phil Bredesen has signed Tennessee’s $27.8 billion annual spending plan into law, his office announced Tuesday. The Democratic governor and lawmakers cut nearly a half-billion dollars from the spending plan toward the end of the legislative session because of worsening economic conditions. Lawmakers’ only constitutional responsibility is to pass a balanced budget. The state’s July-through-June budget year begins next Tuesday. The cuts included reducing the number of state employees by 5 percent, eliminating a planned increase in K-12 education funding and not including new money to expand the state’s public pre-kindergarten program. Only one state senator and four House members voted against the budget proposal when it came up for votes last month. All five are Republicans. The state has made voluntary buyout offers to more than 12,000 state employees in hopes that about 2,300 will accept by August. The state currently employs about 47,000 people. The plan aims to save the state about $64 million a year. If not enough people agree to the voluntary plan, Bredesen has warned that mandatory layoffs will follow. The governor has also signed into law a measure to make it a crime for boaters to leave the scene of an accident without helping people who are injured or killed. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Steve Roller, D-McMinnville, who has used a prosthetic arm and leg since he was struck by a boat wile swimming in a Blount County river in 1983. Bredesen also signed into a law an administration bill that will make it a felony for probation or parole officers to have sexual contact with prisoners or parolees. Read SB4213, SB2815, SB4150 on the General Assembly’s Web site at: http://www.legislature.state.tn.us Published in The Messenger 6.25.08

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