State lawmakers passed the State budget today, avoiding legislative attempts in the House to remove and/or reduce state funding for UT’s highest priority capital project, the West Tennessee 4-H Camp and Conference Center.
Rep. Tim Wirgau (R-Buchanan) introduced and then withdrew an amendment on the House floor seeking to strip state funding from the project.
Two weeks ago, UT Advocacy issued an “Advocacy Alert” on the new 4-H Center, asking advocates to urge their elected officials to support the project. After an incredible grassroots response with over 7,300 communications to members of the General Assembly in support of the project, we are happy to report that the new 4-H Center passed with broad support. To those advocates who took action: We cannot thank you enough. Your support made all the difference.
The State budget includes full funding of the State’s outcomes-based funding formula for public higher education, an increase in funding for non-formula units like the UT Institute of Agriculture, the UT Institute for Public Service and the UT Health Science Center.
The budget also includes:
- Funding for a new science lab building at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville;
- Capital maintenance funding for projects on all UT campuses;
- $3 million in matching funds for the UT Pediatric Research Initiative;
- $1 million in capital outlay to construct a new wind tunnel at the UT Space Institute;
- $3 million in non-recurring funds to support UT-ORNL’s Advanced Manufacturing initiatives and supplement a $250 million federal grant in this area; and,
- Authorization for a 1.5 percent merit pool salary increase for public higher education employees.
Lawmakers will return to the Hill next week to consider bills behind the budget before adjourning for the year.