Chattanooga Congressman Zach Wamp says state layoffs need to begin now to avoid a drastic reduction in employees once federal stimulus money runs out. The candidate for governor met Monday with Nashville Republicans.
Congressman Wamp was asked several questions about how he’d fix the state’s budget deficit. He says the only way to manage with less is to shrink the size of state government. And that means downsizing the state’s 48,000 employees.
“If you factor out the stimulus money, they don’t have the tax revenue right now to meet today’s obligations, therefore the Bredesen administration needs to start reducing the scope of state government next year and not wait until the next governor takes office when the stimulus money is gone.”
Governor Phil Bredesen has said he expects layoffs will be necessary in January. But Wamp says he plans to make further reductions to state payrolls if elected next year.
“I fully expect to be sworn in and have to continue laying people off. And I hope it’s continue instead of we have to lay them all off because they didn’t start the process early enough to have an honest to goodness non-recurring balanced budget.”
Wamp was briefed on the budget by the state’s top finance officials last week and says there aren’t enough tax revenues coming in to support current spending.
Wamp says he plans to maintain funding for K-12 education and not much else. He says no candidate can honestly propose new spending because there’s “no daylight” in the state budget.