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Budget cuts taxes, fully funds education, moves an additional $73.5 million to Rainy Day Fund
Nashville, TN – In the final few days of this year’s legislative session, the House of Representatives passed Tennessee’s annual budget with an 80 – 12 vote. The bill’s passage was the culmination of months of tireless work crafting a fiscally responsible and balanced budget.
The $33.3 billion budget cuts taxes, puts $73.5 million in the state’s Rainy Day Fund, improves our educational system, and provides an even better environment for businesses to grow and for jobs to flourish.When Republicans became the General Assembly’s majority party in 2010, Tennesseans asked for fiscal responsibility to be a priority looking forward. The 2015-2016 budget holds true to that principle while ensuring Tennesseans get the services they expect from state government.
As Washington, D.C. and other states are mired in partisan gridlock and out-of-control spending, Republicans in Tennessee have made responsible decisions that will continue to ensure the state is positioned to be a top leader in the country on jobs. Since January of 2011, over 225,000 new private sector jobs have been created in Tennessee.
Highlights of the 2015-2016 budget include:
K-12 and Higher Education Investment
A large portion of this year’s budget focuses on education, including funding for K-12, higher education, and proposals designed to build on the Drive to 55 program—an effort to raise the percentage of Tennesseans with a degree or certificate beyond high school from 32 to 55 by the year 2025.
For K-12 education, the budget includes nearly $200 million, including:
Notable higher education investments include:
The budget also includes specific workforce development investments geared toward moving forward with the state’s Drive to 55 efforts, including:
The main Tennessee Promise Program, set to being this fall with the class of 2015, provides high school graduates the opportunity to attend a community or technical college free of tuition and fees.
It is both a scholarship and mentoring program that provides last-dollar scholarship dollars that cover costs not met from the Pell, HOPE, or TSAA scholarship programs.
While removing the financial burden is key, a critical component of the Tennessee Promise is the individual guidance each participant will receive from a volunteer mentor who provides guidance and assistance as the student enters higher education.
In addition, under the program, students are required to complete eight hours of community service per enrolled term, as well as maintain at least a 2.0 GPA.
Job Recruitment, Workforce Development & Tax Cuts
Building on the success of other job-related legislation passed during the 108th General Assembly, the budget this year again makes investments in job recruitment and tax reforms.
Notable items include:
In addition, the 2015-2016 budget includes other strategic capital investments statewide that will help fund programs to ensure Tennesseans have the skills needed to obtain well-paying, 21st century jobs after graduation.
Other Budget Highlights
Other highlights of Governor Bill Haslam’s 2015-2016 budget include:
TopicsBasic Education Program, Bill Haslam, Complete College Act, Drive to 55, East Tennessee State University, Education, GPA, Jackson State Community College, Nashville TN, Pell Grant, Republicans, scholarships, Tennesseans, Tennessee, Tennessee Aquarium, Tennessee General Assembly, Tennessee Governor, Tennessee HOPE Scholarships, Tennessee House of Representatives, Tennessee Promise, Tennessee Rainy Day Fund, Tennessee State Budget, TSAA Scholarships, University of Tennessee, Washington D.C.
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