Gov. Haslam administration opposes effort to restore Taft's funding in Pikeville

Gov. Haslam administration opposes effort to restore Taft's funding in Pikeville

April 3rd, 2012 by Andy Sher in Local - Breaking News

Tennessee Finance Commissioner Mark Emkes

NASHVILLE - State Finance Commissioner Mark Emkes said today the Haslam administration opposes a last-ditch effort by area lawmakers to keep the state from closing Taft Youth Center in Pikeville.

Rep. Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville, said Monday he has a budget amendment that would restore funding for Taft, which houses some of the state's worst teen offenders.

Emkes said the administration, which hopes to save $8.5 million annually through Taft's closure, opposes the amendment.

"I think Taft was studied very carefully and we can offer the same service at a lower cost somewhere else," Emkes said.

"We're trying to spend taxpayer dollars wisely. So it's like any business. If you can offer the same service somewhere else at a lower cost, that's what we're going to do."

He said many Taft employees will be able to work at the soon-to-open adult Bledsoe County Correctional Complex, which is near Taft.

For complete details, see tomorrow's Times Free Press.