By Andy Sher
NASHVILLE —; Senators gave final approval today to the state’s $26 billion budget, sending it to Gov. Phil Bredesen for his signature.
The budget provides the first substantial increase for higher education in several years and also funds Gov. Bredesen’s new Cover Tennessee health insurance program.
Senators fought at length over whether to adopt the House version of the 2007 spending bill. Several lawmakers, including Sen. Ward Crutchfield, D-Chattanooga, complained the House bill omits funding for projects included in the Senate version.
The final budget does not include $75,000 for the Warner Park Zoo. It does include a $137,500 appropriation for a job-creation initiative at Chattanooga’s AIM Center, which provides services to the mentally ill. It also provides $100,000 to the Chattanooga African-American Museum.
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For complete details, see tomorrow’s Chattanooga Times Free Press.