No new taxes, money for education highlights Bredesen budget

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Gov. Phil Bredesen has proposed no new taxes in the next state budget.

He's recommending a $28 billion budget that commits the majority of new state dollars to education.

The spending plan presented Monday night during his annual State of the State address is about $170 million less than the current budget.

Bredesen proposes spending $287 million more on education. He wants to create up to 250 new pre-kindergarten classes and give more money for school systems across the state.

Two proposals address college education. One would establish an endowment to provide financial aid for 15,000 more students. The other would lower the grade point average needed to keep a lottery scholarship to 2.75.

Bredesen is continuing to put funds toward land acquisition, initiatives to make communities safer and wants a 2 percent pay raise for state employees.

He also hopes to expand alternatives to nursing homes.

Despite an expected economic downturn, Bredesen said he will resist raiding the state's reserves to plug budget gaps.

Bredesen budget proposal at a glance

By The Associated Press

Some of the new spending in Gov. Phil Bredesen's proposed 2008-2009 budget:

EDUCATION:

--Fully fund K-12 schools (BEP): $83.9 million.

--250 new pre-K classrooms: $25 million.

--HOPE Scholarship Retention - GPA 2.75 (5 percent increase): $5.3 million

--Need-based financial aid for college: $27 million

--Higher Education salary increases: $22.9 million

--Save the Children Literacy Grant: $2 million

--Nursing Loan Forgiveness Program: $1.4 million

--University of Tennessee Biofuels Center: $5.6 million

--Governor's Academy for Math and Science: $400,000

--Governor's Books from Birth Foundation: $500,000
HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES

--Home and Community Based Care Expansion: $12 million

--Smoking Cessation program: $10 million

--Primary Care Clinic Safety Net Grants: $6 million

--HIV/AIDS-Ryan White Program: $3 million
JOB CREATION & RURAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

--Jobs Package: $29.3 million
LAW, SAFETY AND CORRECTION:

--DNA Analysis: $1.3 million

--Knoxville Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Lab: $1 million
ENERGY & CONSERVATION:

--Heritage Conservation Trust fund: $10 million

--Lands Acquisition Funds $4.9 million

--Wetlands Acquisition Fund $4.9 million

--Alternative Fuels Intiative: $4 million

--Water Resource Management $2 million
EMPLOYEE PAY RAISES:

--2 percent increase: $30.6 million

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Source: Tenn. Department of Finance and Administration.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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