state budget | Nashville Public Radio

state budget

Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

Twenty-five more drug agents.

That's what the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is hoping to add in the coming year to aid in efforts to combat the illegal trade in painkillers —  just one of the ways that the opioid epidemic is reshaping state agencies' spending priorities.

Courtesy of Tennessee Board of Regents

The governor is hearing funding requests from every department in the state this week, and the routine is a familiar one — hit him with the highlights and then ask for money. 

TN Photo Services

Governor Bill Haslam is again asking state agencies to trim their budgets, but this year he warns they might actually have to follow through.

Stephen Jerkins / WPLN (File photo)

Update 5/5/17 at 3pm: 

Members of the Tennessee House of Representatives have set aside their differences and approved the state's $37 billion budget.

That comes just a day after bickering over the budget exposed a wide gulf between House Republican leaders and their rank-and-file colleagues. They joined with Democrats to cause more than $300 million in changes to the budget, as a show of force.

But House Majority Leader Glen Casada, R-Franklin, said they were convinced overnight to change their mind.

TN State Library & Archives

Governor Bill Haslam is calling for spending $55 million more next year to jumpstart road construction — as well as millions more for mental health, disability service providers and a new Library & Archives building — as part of a supplemental spending plan released Tuesday morning.

The budget measure is one of the last things state lawmakers consider before adjourning for the year.

Emily Siner / WPLN

The state has a budget surplus, and government agencies have a lot of ideas of how to spend it. 

During a series of budget hearings this month, they're making their case to the governor about what should be funded next year. And for Tennessee's public higher education systems — which run 50 technical colleges, community colleges and universities — that request includes a big line item: $340 million for capital projects.

An organization that advocates small government is out with its annual report on what it calls wasteful spending, and it's putting the University of Tennessee's Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the top of the list.

TN General Assemly

Don't blow it. That's state comptroller Justin Wilson's advice to lawmakers on how to handle Tennessee's growing surplus.

The warning comes as officials are ramping up work on next year's budget.

Emily Siner / WPLN

Tennessee's higher education commission is recommending one of the lowest tuition increases ever for public colleges and universities. Assuming the state gives them the funding they want, commission director Russ Deaton says schools should raise their tuition by no more than 3 percent next year.

Katy Warner / via Flickr

In at least one part of Tennessee’s government, a majority of employees now work remotely full-time. The space-saving effort is part of a statewide push to reduce spending on rent.