Governor Haslam Unveils Final Priorities in State of the State Address

Governor Haslam Delivers the Annual State of the State Address

Governor Bill Haslam unveiled his 2018 priorities Monday evening at his final State of the State Address, presenting a $37.5 billion spending plan for fiscal year 2018-19, with significant initiatives aimed at the state’s opioid crisis and college completion.

The college completion initiative—“Complete to Compete”—would require students receiving HOPE and Tennessee Promise Scholarships to take on 30 credit hours in a given 12 month period so that students are on track to graduate within 2 years at a community college and 4 years at a university.  The initiative will also provide funding for advisors at community colleges, a college coaching network for community college students, and a modular lab for the Tennessee Board of Regents to take workforce training into Tennessee’s higher education “deserts.”  The investments associated with the initiative are the result of a continued focus by the Haslam Administration on community college and technical education.

Haslam’s budget proposal fully funds the state’s higher education outcomes funding formula, resulting in an $8.3 million operating increase for the UT System.  The budget also sets forth a 2.5 percent cost-of-living adjustment for state employees, with full funding of that increase for employees at UT’s non-formula units (such as the Institute for Public Service).  Cost-of-living funding at formula units (campuses) will continue to be funded at roughly 55 percent, with institutions raising the rest of the necessary funding to provide the 2.5 percent increase to employees.  The budget also contains $860,000 recurring for the UT Institute of Agriculture’s Genomics Center and $200,000 non-recurring for UTK minority teacher scholarships.

Capital investments made in the proposal include $9 million for the UT Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Learning Center, $4 million in preplanning funds for the UT Institute of Agriculture’s Energy and Environmental Science building, and $47.48 million in capital maintenance funding across the UT System.

More details on the budget and Governor Haslam’s “Complete to Compete” Initiative will be posted as they become available.

Tags: , , ,