Gov. Bill Haslam opposes special session on higher education

Gov. Bill Haslam opposes special session on higher education

June 21st, 2012 by Perla Trevizo in Local - Breaking News

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Gov. Bill Haslam is not sure a special session is the right fix to the tuition hike increases expected to be approved by the UT board of trustees today.

"I understand the concern about the rising cost of higher education but my concern with calling a special session is what else are we going to consider of the state's needs right now?" he said before the full board meeting in Knoxville.

"To have a special session to talk just about those one or two things is like considering a few issues in a vacuum when you have a lot of challenges I'm not certain it makes sense," he added.

Senate and House Democrats have called on Haslam to call a special legislative session and use state surpluses to offset college tuition hikes and further reduce the sales tax on groceries.

Democrats say state revenues so far this fiscal year are about $225 million above earlier estimates. They want to use $78 million to offset planned tuition increases that the University of Tennessee system is expected to approve today.