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.

   


DPD Seeks ID Of Pair Involved In Theft

The Dalton Police Department is asking for the public’s help identifying two women who worked together to steal an undetermined amount of merchandise from Walmart. The pair were recorded on store surveillance. Investigators believe the suspects live in the Chattanooga area and that they have been involved in numerous thefts from stores across northwest Georgia. ... (click for more)

Ralph Lee Nelms Arrested For Theft At Bradley County Construction Site

Ralph Lee Nelms was arrested for theft at a construction site on Tuesday in Bradley County. Deputies responded to the 100 block of Keystone Drive regarding a theft in progress. Upon arrival, a man was observed getting into a silver Ford Ranger that was in the driveway of a house under construction. Contact was made with the man, later identified as Ralph Lee Nelms, who stated ... (click for more)

Calling Out Bad Behavior In St. Elmo - And Response

I have lived in the St. Elmo community of Chattanooga for practicially all 52 years of my life. My grandmother moved to St. Elmo in 1919. My Dad was literally born in a home in St. Elmo and lived his entire 72 years in this community and my Mom has lived here 60 years of her life. I am very disappointed in what my neighborhood has become. I like people. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Amputee Team Wins Relay

As a news junkie there isn’t a lot that gets past me in my morning reading, yet I had no idea there was a relay race in Chattanooga two weekends ago. Maybe that’s why 1,500 people ran away and never came back – the finish line was in Nashville. How the Ragnar Relays work is pretty simple. The organizers pick two cities that are about 200 miles apart and then 12-to-14 runners ... (click for more)

Seth Ruhling Wins Chattanooga Chase 8K And One Mile

It has been six years since Seth Ruhling ran the Chattanooga Chase and maybe he had forgotten just how tough that 8K course really is, but that’s didn’t seem to matter Monday morning as he celebrated Memorial Day with victory in the Chattanooga Track Club’s oldest race. Ruhling graduated from Collegedale Academy in 2013 and is now a 21-year-old student at Southern Adventist ... (click for more)

Tennessee-Georgia All-Star Football Classic Set For Saturday at CCS

The 13th Annual Tennessee-Georgia All-Star Football Classic, presented by Great Clips, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday June 4 at Chattanooga Christian School in Chattanooga. Tennessee defeated Georgia 38-14 last June at McCallie School in Chattanooga. It was Tennessee's fourth consecutive victory in the series that dates back to the first game held at Ridgeland High in ... (click for more)