bill haslam

Ernst & Young announces 600 new jobs in Nashville

Gov. Bill Haslam announces on Nov. 13, 2018, that Ernst & Young will add 600 jobs in Nashville. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A press release from Gov. Bill Haslam’s office:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe and Ernst & Young LLP (EY) officials announced today that the global professional services firm will invest more than $20 million to establish a facility to deliver tax managed services for clients and tax technology operations in Nashville. EY expects to create more than 600 jobs over the next five years.

“EY’s decision to create hundreds of technology and service delivery jobs in Nashville affirms our ongoing efforts to bring high quality jobs to Tennessee,” Haslam said. “Tennessee’s pro-growth policies continue to attract leading international businesses to our state. I’d like to thank EY for making this major investment in Middle Tennessee and bringing us one step closer to making Tennessee the top state in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”

Continue reading

UPDATE: Amazon to invest $230M, add 5,000 jobs in Nashville

Gov. Bill Haslam announces on Nov. 13, 2018, that Amazon will locate its East Coast logistics hub in Nashville. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal )

Here’s a press release from Amazon outlining its $230 million and adding 5,000 jobs in Nashville.

Amazon’s new Operations Center of Excellence in Nashville

  • Downtown Nashville, along the Cumberland River, is the heart of the city just north of the Gulch and is home to urban living, retail, restaurants, entertainment venues, hospitality, open green spaces, and offices. The area is served by commuter rail, more than a dozen bus routes, and is a 15-minute drive to Nashville International Airport.
  • As part of Amazon’s investment, Tennessee, Davidson County and the city of Nashville will benefit from 5,000 full-time, high-paying jobs; over $230 million in investment; 1 million square feet of energy-efficient office space; and an estimated incremental tax revenue of more than $1 billion over the next 10 years as a result of Amazon’s investment and job creation.
  • Amazon will receive performance-based direct incentives of up to $102 million based on the company creating 5,000 jobs with an average wage of over $150,000 in Nashville. This includes a cash grant for capital expenditures from the state of Tennessee of $65 million based on the company creating 5,000 jobs over the next 7 years, which is equivalent to $13,000 per job; a cash grant from the city of Nashvilleof up to $15 million based on $500 for each job created over the next 7 years; and a job tax credit to offset franchise and excise taxes from the state of Tennessee of $21.7 million based on $4,500 per new job over the next 7 years.

“We want to thank Amazon for its continued investment in the state of Tennessee and are excited about the additional 5,000 corporate jobs they will be creating in Nashville,” said Governor Bill Haslam of Tennessee. “It has never been clearer that Tennessee is a great place to do business, and we continue to attract a wide variety of global companies that provide high-paying, quality jobs for our residents.”

“Amazon’s decision to expand its presence in Nashville is a direct result of the talented workforce and strong community we’ve built here,” said Mayor David Briley of Nashville. “These are quality, high-paying jobs that will boost our economy, provide our workers with new opportunities, and show the rest of the world that Nashville is a premiere location for business investment. We thank Amazon for investing in Nashville, and we look forward to welcoming them to this community.”

8:49 a.m.: Reuters reports that while Nashville might not have made the final cut for Amazon’s second headquarters (that one appears to be a split decision between New York and northern Virginia),  the Tennessee capital is in line for a separate East Coast hub of operations. That decision will be good for 5,000 new corporate jobs in the city, according to the news services’ sources.

A press conference for an unspecified “significant economic development announcement” was scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Central at the state Capitol.

Haslam predicts Blackburn will win by at least 5 points

Gov. Bill Haslam speaks at a press conference at the state Capitol in Nashville on March 1, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Gov. Bill Haslam predicted on  NBC’s Meet the Press with Chuck Todd on Sunday that Republican Marsha Blackburn will comfortably win the Senate race against Democrat Phil Bredesen because voters in Tennessee care more about the partisan makeup of the chamber than about the individual promises made by candidates.

The governor said the furor surrounding the Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Brett Kavanaugh shifted the race in Tennessee by 5 or 6 percentage points in Blackburn’s favor, adding that he thinks “Marsha will win by at least that much.”

“Tennessee is one of those states where the Kavanaugh hearings did change things,” Haslam said. “People realized well it really doesn’t matter, kind of, what you’re saying. The color of the jersey you’re wearing up there is really important.”

Continue reading

Haslam outlines TNReady changes following testing problems

Gov. Bill Haslam, left, and Wayne Miller, the former executive director of the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents, attend an Oct. 24, 2018, press conference in Nashville about changes to the TNReady testing program. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A release from Gov. Bill Haslam’s office:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Education Commissioner Candice McQueen today announced changes in the delivery of the TNReady assessment for the current school year and additional changes that will take effect beginning in the 2019-20 school year. The changes are a direct response to a report from educators generated by the recent statewide listening tour that included roundtable conversations and online feedback from educators including teachers, testing coordinators and school administrators on how to make improvements to assessment delivery.

“These are real solutions, some of which are already underway or will be implemented later this year, that will be felt by educators, students and parents across the state,” Haslam said. “Throughout the listening tour, the message from teachers was clear that we do not need to start over but rather do all we can to improve the delivery of TNReady. We think these changes will do just that and create a better testing experience for both students and teachers.”

The Department of Education has already made significant changes, including a successful verification of the testing platform involving roughly 50,000 students, ensuring quicker turnaround of results starting with the fall end-of-course assessments, and providing better educator training opportunities.

Continue reading

Haslam names former state senator, NES chief to UT board

Gov. Bill Haslam speaks at a press conference at the state Capitol in Nashville on March 1, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Gov. Bill Haslam has made two more appointments to the reconstituted Board of Trustees of the University of Tennessee: former state Sen. Jamie Woodson (R-Knoxville) and Decosta Jenkins, the president and CEO of the Nashville Electric Service.

Here’s the full release:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today appointed two additional members to the Board of Trustees of the University of Tennessee. Decosta Jenkins and Jamie Woodson join the board in advance of the meeting scheduled for November 2.

The appointments follow passage of the University of Tennessee Focusing On Campus and University Success (FOCUS) Act earlier this year. The legislation restructured the UT Board of Trustees to enhance governance of the UT system.

Continue reading

Haslam grants 10-day execution delay to prepare electric chair

Gov. Bill Haslam speaks at a press conference at the state Capitol in Nashville on March 1, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A statement from Gov. Bill Haslam about his decision to grant a 10-day delay in the execution of death row inmate Edmund Zagorski:

I am granting to Edmund Zagorski a reprieve of 10 days from execution of the sentence of death imposed upon by him by a jury in 1984 which was scheduled to be carried out later today. I take seriously the responsibility imposed upon the Tennessee Department of Correction and me by law, and given the federal court’s decision to honor Zagorski’s last-minute decision to choose electrocution as the method of execution, this brief reprieve will give all involved the time necessary to carry out the sentence in an orderly and careful manner.

Haslam won’t intervene in Zagorski execution

A statement from Gov. Bill Haslam about death row inmate Edmund Zagorski, who is scheduled to be executed on Thursday:

After careful consideration, I am declining to intervene in the case of Edmund Zagorski, who was convicted and sentenced to death in 1984 by a Robertson County jury for the murders of John Dale Dotson and Jimmy Porter. Zagorski requests clemency based upon his behavior while incarcerated and juror affidavits obtained nearly 35 years after the trial stating that some jurors would have preferred to impose a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, which was not an option under Tennessee law at the time. While Zagorski has exhibited good behavior during his incarceration, that does not undo the fact that he robbed and brutally murdered two men and attempted to kill a police officer while on the run. Further, while juries today have the option of imposing a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole in capital cases, the jury in Zagorski’s case heard the evidence at trial and rendered a unanimous verdict in accordance with the law at the time and their duty as jurors. Ten courts, including the Tennessee Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of the United States, have reviewed and upheld the jury’s verdict and sentence, and the Tennessee Supreme Court has held that the addition of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole as a sentencing option does not affect previous verdicts.

Haslam administration awards $35M in school safety funding, grants

Gov. Bill Haslam delivers his final State of the State address on Jan. 29, 2018 in Nashville. (Photo credit: Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Gov. Bill Haslam’s office has announced how it will allocate $35 million in school security funding across the state. About $10 million of the money is in the form of recurring funding, while $25 million is in the form of one-time grants.

“We have made security for children at our schools a priority, so there was an urgency to have all schools assessed and the funding allocated to increase school safety as we started the school year,” Haslam said in a release.

The grants will allow school districts to make various security enhancements, including better door locks, improved visitor screening procedures and shatter-resistant glass. Some districts are using grants to improve mental health services for students and to pay for school counselors and child psychologists. Additional local funding has led to 213 new school resource officers to be hired around the state.

Continue reading

Tennessee unemployment edges up, but still ‘historically low’

Tennessee’s unemployment rate edged up to 3.6% in August, a 0.1 percentage point increase from the previous month. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam said that despite “this very small fluctuation,” Tennessee’s jobless rate is still among the lowest in the nation.

“The fact the rate has seen such little movement over the last year reflects the strength of our state’s economy and our work over the past eight years to develop Tennessee’s workforce to meet the needs of today’s employers,” Haslam said in a statement.

Continue reading

Haslam announces listening tour on student testing

Gov. Bill Haslam speaks at the state Capitol in Nashville on Aug. 21, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A release from Gov. Bill Haslam’s office:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced a multi-phase plan, highlighted by a statewide listening tour, to improve delivery of the state’s elementary and secondary assessments known as TNReady. The goals of the engagement plan and tour are to:

1 Engage in an open conversation about assessment and ways to improve administration;

2 Gather feedback that can inform a smooth delivery of state assessments this school year and beyond, including feedback on the selection of the state’s next assessment partner to be chosen later this school year; 

3 Discuss how to better provide schools, educators, parents and students with meaningful and timely results from assessments; and

4 Distinguish assessment content from delivery in an effort to focus on the value assessments can provide.

Continue reading