Haslam official calls revenue estimates 'very reasonable'

Haslam official calls revenue estimates 'very reasonable'

February 9th, 2011 by Andy Sher in Local Regional News

NASHVILLE - State revenue is expected to grow between 2.65 percent and 3.35 percent in the coming fiscal year, the State Funding Board said today.

That will give Gov. Bill Haslam between $10.65 billion and $10.77 billion to spend in the budget he will present to state lawmakers on March 14.

"I think these figures are very reasonable," Finance Commissioner Mark Emkes said after State Funding Board members set growth estimates.

But he said that given the state budget's shortfall, "there's going to be some significant cuts that have to be made. We're going to be sitting with the governor the next couple of weeks and looking at what makes sense. There's so many good causes out there. That's the sad part."

The state is running a $185 million deficit and Haslam is trying to create elbow room for other priorities such as K-12 education.

Earlier, the four-member Funding Board unanimously agreed to set a total tax growth rate of between 3.6 percent to 4 percent in the current fiscal year. That would give Haslam between $10.38 billion and $10.42 billion to work for the fiscal year that ends June 30.

See Thursday's Times Free Press for complete coverage.