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.


Clarence Ross, Leshawn Witherow Shot On Walden Avenue Friday Afternoon

Chattanooga Police are investigating a shooting that happened early Friday afternoon at the 6300 block of Walden Avenue.  Clarence Ross, 41, And Leshawn Witherow, 40, suffered non-life threatening injuries.  Hamilton County EMS transported both victims to a local hospital for treatment.  There is no suspect information at this time.  Investigators with ... (click for more)

Police Blotter: Con Man Directs Money Card Scam From Speedway Parking Lot; Joyrider Goes On Downtown Spin And Across Bridge On Forklift

At the Speedway on Hickory Valley Road a clerk was scammed out of $3,371.71 in ITune money cards. A caller told the cashier he was with "corporate" and needed to pull ITune cards in amounts of $50 and $100 to move them to another store. He said she needed to ring up the cards to validate them and give him the numbers. The man said he later would cancel out the cards from ... (click for more)

Please, No Short Term Vacation Rentals In My Neighborhood

Approval of the short term vacation rental item on the City Council agenda for Tuesday  will be the next step toward commercializing our residential properties and communities to benefit those more interested in making money than preserving an old, well-established, rich community of like-minded families.    Anything requiring a business license is ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Kelly Could Win It

I am neither a sleuth nor an odds maker but I’d say there is about a one-in-three chance that Interim Hamilton County Department of Education Superintendent Kirk Kelly could become the permanent superintendent of our public schools next Thursday. I am assured something squirrelly is happening on our newly-seated school board. It has been seven months since the last superintendent ... (click for more)

Goetz Outlasts Huwe To Win Signal Mountain Pie Run

The annual Signal Mountain Pie Run is one of those races where you don’t have to be the first across the finish line to be the overall winner. It’s a prediction run, so the runner getting nearest his or her predicted time was honored with cash prizes. Gregg Sutton crossed the line next to the old Signal Mountain Junior High with a time of 46 minutes flat, which was exactly ... (click for more)

UTC Defeats VMI, 30-13

UTC junior running back Richardre Bagley rushed for a career-high 189 yards and two touchdowns to lead the host Mocs to a 30-13 Southern Conference win against VMI at Finley StadiuMocs quarterback Alejandro Bennifield threw one touchdown pass and ran for another and Henrique Ribeiro kicked a 30 yard field goal to complete the scoring for the victors. The Mocs led 17-0 at half, ... (click for more)