Despite slowing tax collections in recent months, the state’s top finance official is using rosy projections to put together next year’s budget.
The state funding board listens to a panel of economists who give a range of forecasts for tax revenue. And members are leaning toward the optimistic end of the range, anticipating growth of 3.5 percent.
Finance Commissioner Mark Emkes – who previously headed Bridgestone Americas – says economic activity has dipped. He says households and corporations are sitting on their hands, but not for long.
“Right now the sky is falling and things are looking not so good. But there’s going to be resolution on the fiscal cliff. And once that happens I think we move forward.”
The funding board projections mean an additional $378 million in revenue next year. However, Emkes cautions that most of that will be eaten up by health care costs, a large part being people already eligible for TennCare but who will now enroll because of the coming insurance mandate.