Tennessee releases worst-case federal budget cut scenarios

Tennessee releases worst-case federal budget cut scenarios

August 30th, 2011 by Andy Sher in Local - Breaking News

Gov. Haslam

Gov. Haslam

NASHVILLE - The Haslam administration today released worst-case scenario figures outlining how federal budget cuts of up to 30 percent would result in Tennessee government eliminating another 5,132 state jobs and $4.5 billion out of the state's $30.8 billion budget.

TennCare would suffer most under a 30 percent reduction, according to a department-by-department breakdown.

The state and federal funded health insurance program for low-income and disabled people would see $2.25 billion in total cuts under the worst-case scenario. That would result in slashing provider reimbursements and other measures such as ending some optional benefits and limiting yet others.

Public K-12 education would see $276 million in cuts.

A 15 percent federal cut, documents state, would "significantly reduce the amount of funding that is provided directly to local education agencies." It gets worse under the 30 percent scearnio.

The state Department of Transportation, which is responsible for the state's highway system, would lose nearly $274 million.

Lola Potter, a spokeswoman for Finance Commissioner Mark Emkes, noted the commissioner said earlier this month that "we don't expect reductions to be this drastic, but believe it is responsible to prepare.

"We expect reductions in federal funding will be targeted to specific programs, but this exercise helps departments prepare to make reductions," Potter added.

Read more in tomorrow's Times Free Press.