Governor Bill Haslam has asked state department heads to prepare budgets that cut 30 percent from current spending. A letter went out yesterday from Finance Commissioner Mark Emkes to all departments and state agencies using federal funds.
The cuts are huge, but hypothetical. Emkes said the plans will be presented to bond ratings agencies in New York for the state’s annual review next month.
40 percent of Tennessee’s budget is federal money, and the recent deal in Congress calls for deep cuts, leading many to expect federal aid to states will nosedive.
Emke’s letter asks for plans at two levels: first, a 15 percent cut, and then a further 15 percent if necessary. Those cuts are supposed to come from federally funded programs. Department plans are due Wednesday.