NASHVILLE -- The Tennessee House passed Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's recommended $32.4 billion budget this afternoon after beating back Democratic efforts to restore planned teacher and employee pay raises scrapped by revenue shortfalls.
Senators are expected to take up the annual spending plan later today.
Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley, charged Republicans are "going to balance [the budget] on the workers of this state."
He offered an amendment that would have provided funding to restore Haslam's originally proposed salary boosts that would go into effect if revenues increase.
Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, called Fitzhugh's plan a "gimmick" and said it would confuse state workers, teachers and higher education employees.
Representatives tabled Fitzhugh's amendment on a 68-28 vote.
Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, was widely expected to present his own plan to restore employee increases. But after speaking at length on his amendment, Hill, who spoke with administration officials earlier in the day, withdrew his amendment.
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, ...