Haslam budget gives pay raises to teachers, state employees; spends $655 million on building construction & maintenance

Gov. Bill Haslam’s proposes spending $37 billion in the 2017-18 fiscal year, which is about 4.8 percent more than in the current fiscal year. The money includes about $18 billion in federal funds.

Here are some of the highlights:

–There’s new money (about $100 million) to cover a 4 percent pay raise for K-12 public school teachers, if spread across the board to all – though school systems can distribute the funds so some get bigger pay raises than others.  Schools would also get an extra $22 million for English language learning programs.

–There’s funding for all state employees (including those in higher education) to get a 3 percent pay raises if handled across the board plus $23 million for “market adjustment” pay raises in some job categories.

–There is $655 million for building construction and maintenance across state government and higher education.

–As announced before, $279 million extra would be spent on highway construction and maintenance with money generated from an increase in gasoline and diesel fuel taxes. Another $135 million from revenue overcollections would go to road construction on a one-time basis as a “payback” of money taken from the road fund in previous years.

–TennCare spending would increase by $214 million.

to cover increased costs for TennCare, the state’s expanded Medicaid program covering 1.5 million Tennesseans.

–The state’s “rainy day fund” would receive $132 million, building total money set aside to a record $800 million.

–There is $60 million in new money allocated for economic development and jobs training grants plus $21 million earmarked under Haslam’s plan for programs intended to spur economic development in rural areas. And, as previously announced, there’s $45 million in grants to subsidize expansion of broadband in rural areas.

–15 million for career and technology education equipment.

–15 million for the state’s aeronautics economic development fund.

–$12 million to fund substance abuse and crisis intervention treatment and service.

–8 million to buy a new rescue helicopter and $1.7 million to pay for new fire trucks.

–$3.5 million to hire 27 positions in state prosecutors’ offices and 18 in public defenders’ offices.

–3.4 million to hire and outfit 25 new Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers.

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