The House Finance, Ways, and Means Committee took up UT’s proposed budget on Monday, March 6. The Committee’s tone was positive, although some questions did arise about recent comments by UT Knoxville Chancellor Beverly Davenport regarding the future of UTK’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Committee members acknowledged and voiced support for UT’s effort to keep tuition increases low while finding ways to become more efficient, effective, and entrepreneurial. No budget amendments were proposed or considered by the Committee, whose hearing came several weeks after the Senate Education Committee approved a budget amendment earmarking $450,000 to create an Office of Intellectual Diversity at UT Knoxville.
The next steps in the budget process are anticipated in early April, when the Governor files his budget amendment proposal. Once lawmakers receive this proposal, the House and Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committees will roll up their sleeves in reviewing all filed budget amendments as they work to craft the state’s final budget proposal for consideration by both chambers.