Haslam: Surplus gives chance to 'reshape' Tennessee budget

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam speaks at the the Tennessee Press Association convention Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - While state lawmakers come up with competing plans to carve up a projected budget surplus, Republican Gov. Bill Haslam hopes to seize the initiative at his annual State of the State address on Monday.

Haslam told reporters, editors and newspaper executives in a speech to the Tennessee Press Association that he wants to dedicate a sizable chunk of new revenue toward K-12 education, though he declined to elaborate on specifics in advance of the address.

Other spending priorities will include a plan to begin paying back about $261 million in gas tax money that was re-routed from road projects to cover general spending needs a decade ago.

Haslam said it's necessary to keep close control of spending amid a surplus to protect against getting "smeared" during a future downturn.