published Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Tennessee officials confident about short-term finances in debt crisis

LEBANON, Tenn. — As the nation approaches a historic debt default, Gov. Bill Haslam and top officials say Tennessee’s revenues and cash flow are sufficient for now to fulfill the state’s obligations should partisan disputes between Republicans and Democrats in Washington send the nation’s credit careening off a cliff.

“We’ve looked at what happens if the funding totally gets cut off if they shut down and we’re actually in pretty good shape with how our payment flow works,” Haslam told reporters following a meeting with teachers in Lebanon, just outside Nashville. “But it obviously impacts the credit ratings and funding that comes from Washington would be delayed.”

Haslam said he is meeting with Finance Commissioner Mark Emkes on Friday to get further details.

“But,” Haslam added, “let’s don’t kid ourselves. If that [congressional standoff] lasts a very long time, we have major problems because so many of our problems are funded by the federal government.”

Emkes said he believes Tennessee can go at least six weeks and by then, he said, Congress surely will have acted.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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