Haslam: Surplus gives chance to 'reshape' Tennessee budget

Haslam: Surplus gives chance to 'reshape' Tennessee budget

January 29th, 2016 by Associated Press in National Tennessee

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

Photo by The Associated Press /Times Free Press.

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.