Haslam Tells Rotary Club State Finances Much Better Off Than Most

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Governor Bill Haslam told members of the Chattanooga Rotary Club on Thursday that the state's finances are much better off than most states.

"We came out of this bad recession in very good shape," he said in the noon speech at the Convention Center.

Governor Haslam said the state is using the opportunity to boost education as well as shore up the rainy day fund. He said Tennessee is making the second-highest education spending increase among the states, including fully funding the Better Education Program formula.

He said $51 million is designed for an improvement in testing programs and $34 million for a variety of school capital needs. He said the latter expenditures may include some security items.

The speaker said a new tenure system is working well, and he said stricter teacher evaluations have led many low-performing teachers to leave the system while retaining high-performing ones.

On education in Tennessee, he said, "We've been ranked too low for too long."

He said education was a prime consideration for the head of an international firm considering locating in Tennessee.

To boost adult education, he said the state is supporting an affordable online course offering that allows an adult student to see at what level he or she tests out. There would be online training needed above that level.

Governor Haslam said his admnistration is "chipping away" at the Hall income tax on dividends and interest, but he said it may not go completely away. He said it yields $300 million per year to the state coffers and some municipalities rely heavily on it.

He said the state is investing $8 million in a statewide tourism advertising campaign that he said should pay big dividends through spending by additional visitors.

He told the club members that gun control is a difficult issue still under debate and discussion. He said mental health issues go right along with that topic.

The governor said the Affordable Health Care Act may cost the state $200 million if only the minimum coverage is provided. He said if the state opts for the minimum, then that will leave hospitals with high charity loads like Erlanger in a financial hole. He said a decision on that issue should come in a couple of months.

   


St. Elmo Check Into Cash Employee Robbed At Gunpoint

A Check Into Cash clerk was robbed at gunpoint on Monday evening. Investigators with the Chattanooga Police Department responded at 6:34 p.m. to a robbery from a business at 3801 Tennessee Ave. Upon arrival, officers spoke with the store clerk, and the  clerk reported speaking with the suspect who then brandished a pistol.  The suspect walked the clerk ... (click for more)

Some Closings And Delays Set Tuesday Due To Inclement Weather

Marion, Grundy and Polk schools are closed Tuesday due to the expected inclement weather. Hamilton County Schools will be on a two-hour delay on   Tuesday . School Age Child Care will be closed. 12-month employees will report on regular schedule.  Walker County Transit will be closed Tuesday . Walker County Schools will be on a two-hour delay. (click for more)

The City Failed To Watch The Chattanooga History Museum Dollars - And Response (3)

The tell tale signs of the History Museum's folly have been evident for years. When I was a former member of City Council I interviewed Dr. Daryl Black, Ph.D. to determine if I should argue for or against the annual funding of his organization. His interview, the multi-year history of administrative non-performance (despite consistent repetitive funding), and a review of the organizational ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Momma Bears Roar

If I could count Hamilton County’s best educators on one hand, Normal Park Elementary Principal Jill Levine would be the biggest finger. What she and her faculty and a dazzling commitment from both her students and parents have accomplished is an educational dream. I am told people literally move to North Chattanooga just so their children will be zoned for the award-winning school. ... (click for more)

Bradley Edges Cleveland, 88-86, On Copeland Game-Winner In Fourth OT

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Monday turned into a more bang for your bucks night at Jim Smiddy Arena. But, the capacity crowd probably should have expected the bargain. Back on Dec. 8, Bradley Central knocked off bitter rival Cleveland in an overtime thriller. On Monday, the two teams took a walk on the wild side in a colossal four-overtime, 88-86, District 5-3A barn-burner ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Softball Picked To Win SoCon Title

The Chattanooga Mocs have been selected as the preseason favorite to win the 2016 Southern Conference softball title by the league's head coaches. Senior second baseman Criket Blanco was named Preseason First-Team All-SoCon and sophomore pitcher Cori Jennings, senior shortstop Alyssa Taylor and senior outfielder Sam Taylor were selected to the Preseason Second-Team All-SoCon. ... (click for more)