Haslam touts grant transparency, closes records

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Gov. Bill Haslam is touting his proposal for more grants for companies investing in Tennessee as fostering transparency in the state's economic development program. But the Republican has also filed a bill to shield information used to make grant decisions from public view.

Clint Brewer, a spokesman for the Department of Economic and Community Development, said Wednesday that the two messages don't conflict.

Brewer said the main details of fast track grants will remain subject to the state's open records laws, as compared with information about tax credits that is largely kept confidential because of taxpayer privacy issues.

Brewer said "due diligence" material in grant making decisions would be closed so privately held companies won't bypass Tennessee for fear their proprietary information could be made public.

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