Haslam Speech Lays Out Budget, Policy Priorities

Governor Bill Haslam laid out a budget proposal last night designed to address rising costs in health care and education, build up the state’s emergency fund and give state workers a modest pay raise. It also calls for eliminating 30 administrators at the Department of Children’s Services, while adding caseworkers and increasing requirements for those positions, in response to ongoing criticism of the department. Also included was $1.5 million to expand the state’s drug courts. With regard to big issues such as workers compensation reform, school vouchers and Medicaid expansion, remarks were “light on details,” according to one source. However, House Speaker Beth Harwell said she appreciated that the governor left room for lawmakers to put their stamp on his priorities. WPLN has a wrap up. Knoxnews has the text of the speech.