Tag Archives: budget

August state revenue $38M better than budget

News release from Department of Finance and Administration
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee revenues exceeded the budgeted estimates for August, which is the first month of the state’s fiscal year. Finance and Administration Commissioner Larry Martin today reported that overall August revenues were $948.2 million, which is $49.8 million more than August of last year and $38.0 million more than the budgeted estimate. The growth rate for all taxes in August was 5.54%.

“Corporate tax receipts and sales tax revenue reflecting July’s consumer activity posted positive growth for the month,” Martin said. “All other taxes revenues, taken as a group, also recorded positive growth.

“The positive revenue numbers for August reflect a continuing good economic environment in our state. It should be noted, however, that the sales tax, which is our largest revenue source, grew at a moderate rate of 2.2%. This is well below the average growth of 7.3% over the first six months of the calendar year.” Continue reading

Administration asks 2 percent budget cut plans

Despite a growing government budget surplus in Tennessee, Finance Commissioner Larry Martin has asked all department chiefs to submit proposals for cutting their spending by 2 percent in the next fiscal year.

In a memo to department and agency officials, Martin acknowledges “strong revenue growth” but cites enactment of a law earlier this year that cuts the Hall tax on investment income from 6 percent to 5 percent immediately and mandates full repeal in six years.

“At a minimum, reductions will be necessary to offset the phaseout of the Hall Income Tax,” the memo says. “In fiscal year 2014-15, collections for the Hall tax totaled $303.4 million. Because certain areas of the budget tend to outpace our average revenue growth, it would not be prudent to address tax cuts with revenue growth alone. It’s also important that we continue to look for savings and efficiencies throughout state government and bend the curve on government spending.” Continue reading

TN fiscal year revenue $925M over estimates

News release from Department of Finance and Administration
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Total Tennessee tax revenues for July were slightly more than the budgeted expectation. Finance and Administration Commissioner Larry Martin reported today that July, which ended the accrual fiscal year, recorded a net positive growth of 0.74%, compared to July of 2015. Overall, July revenues were $1.0 billion, which is $13.8 million more than the state budgeted.

“July revenue results were somewhat mixed,” Martin said. “With sales taxes, we had stronger than anticipated growth but corporate and business taxes experienced negative growth. Also, all other taxes, taken as a group, were marginally below July 2015.

“Despite the mixed results in July, the year-to-date growth rate for all taxes ended the year well above last year’s revenue performance. It is important to note that despite the underperformance with corporate business taxes in July, year to date these taxes have a strong positive growth.” Continue reading

UT diversity tops Beacon TN ‘pork’ for 2016

News release from Beacon Center of Tennessee
In the organization’s 11th annual Tennessee Pork Report, the Beacon Center reveals that state and local government officials squandered $480 million of taxpayers’ hard-earned money this past year.

For the second consecutive year, the Beacon Center allowed the people of Tennessee to pick the infamous “Pork of the Year” award. After hundreds of votes, the “winner” of the award was the University of Tennessee’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion. This taxpayer-funded office “encouraged” students and faculty to use gender neutral pronouns such as “ze” and “zir” in lieu of “he” and “she” and tried to ensure that holiday parties on the campus were not “Christmas parties in disguise.”

The report highlights this mismanagement of taxpayer funds and includes the following examples:

•Nearly $56 million taxpayer dollars to fund the canceled-then-revived-on-cable television series Nashville
•$1.5 million paid to out of state artists to litter music city with tacky art
•$900,000 in Washington-style earmarks for Hamilton County commissioners to squander on their pet political projects

After more than a decade of exposing government waste, the Beacon Center remains committed to holding government officials accountable and keeping taxpayers informed. We hope the Pork Report will create a more responsible and transparent government that prioritizes taxpayers.

You can read the full Tennessee Pork Report by clicking here.

June state revenue $112.8M above budget prediction

News release from Department of Finance and Administration
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Newest figures show that total tax revenues in the month of June were more than budgeted expectations. Finance and Administration Commissioner Larry Martin reported today that June ended with a net positive growth of 6.16% compared to taxes in the same month last year. Overall June revenues were $1.3 billion, which is $112.8 million more than the state budgeted.

“June sales tax revenues recorded much slower growth than previous months, which was not expected,” Martin said. “However, June brought us stronger than anticipated collections from corporate business taxes and well above budgeted expectations for all other tax sources combined.”

On an accrual basis, June is the eleventh month in the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

General fund revenues exceeded the budgeted estimate in the amount of $105.3 million. The four other funds that share in state tax revenues were also in excess of budgeted expectations by $7.5 million.

Sales tax revenues were $1.2 million more than the estimate for June. The June growth rate was 1.28%. For eleven months revenues are over budget by $346.2 million. The year-to-date growth rate for eleven months was 7.18%. Continue reading

Cost of new UT building increasing (construction time, too)

The State Building Commission last week has approved another $4.14 million increase in spending on the University of Tennessee’s new Student Union complex in Knoxville, according to the News Sentinel. The new total cost figure: $181.74 million.

When the commission first approved the project in 2008, its cost was estimated at $116.6 million. But that was before the Recession settled in, cutting state revenue and delaying the project for more than three years. It was also before design plans were approved and construction bids were opened.

By the time its design was approved in 2011 and its size increased by 30 percent, to 390,000 square feet, the cost was pegged at $160 million. In 2012 it jumped to $167.6 million. In July 2015, the commission approved a $10 million increase, to $177.6 million, to cover the costs of “unforeseen abatement, poor soil conditions, utility relocation, user-requested design changes and for awarding bids that are higher than were estimated,” according to minutes of the meeting.

When demolition of the old University Center parking garage started in March 2012, finally marking the start of work, UT said it would take about four years — to 2016 — to complete the entire project, to be built in two phases.

The target for overall completion is now during the spring of 2018.

State revenue $41M over budget in May

News release from Department of Finance and Administration
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee tax revenues exceeded budgeted estimates in May, driven primarily by sales taxes. Department of Finance and Administration Commissioner Larry Martin today announced that overall May revenues were $1.0 billion, which is $41.3 million more than the state budgeted.

“Total reported receipts in May reflect significant improvement over this time last year, and were driven primarily by sales tax receipts,” Martin said. “Franchise and excise taxes fell short of May 2015 figures and were also below the monthly budgeted estimate. All other tax collections, taken as a group, were above the May estimate.”

On an accrual basis, May is the tenth month in the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

General fund revenues were more than the budgeted estimates in the amount of $37.4 million while the four other funds that share in state tax revenues were $3.9 million more than the estimates.

Sales taxes were $33.5 million more than the estimate for May and were 6.49% more than May 2015. May receipts reflect retail business activity that occurred in April. For ten months, revenues are $345.0 million higher than estimated. The year-to-date growth rate for ten months was 7.81%. Continue reading

Haslam: Legislators ready to cut spending to cover lost Hall tax revenue

In a Knoxville appearance Tuesday, Gov. Bill Haslam said legislative leaders have assured him they will be ready to cut state spending to make up for loss of revenue from the Hall tax on investment income, reports Richard Locker.

“I told the Legislature my concern was they were promising to cut taxes without promising to make commensurate expense cuts, and if the economy slowed down and revenues didn’t continue where they are, then that would be a problem. Their leadership assured me that if that time came, they would make the appropriate adjustments,” Haslam said in a brief question-and-answer session with reporters after a speech to the Knoxville Rotary Club.

The governor also said the reduction and ultimate loss of Hall tax revenue by cities and counties who share in its proceeds didn’t weigh heavily into the decision to approve the bill.
Since the Hall income tax on certain dividend and interest income was enacted in 1929, its proceeds have been divided between the state and local governments, with 5/8ths flowing to the state’s general fund and 3/8ths to the city or county where the taxpayer resides.

That formula favors the most populous cities and counties and its most affluent suburbs where more people who own stocks and bonds live.

…Haslam said that from the state’s perspective, the Hall tax was never really fair because some communities were better able to rely on it than others. “Some local communities just happen to do really well because they have a lot of people who paid it, whereas a similar community wasn’t getting anything.”

Knox mayor: Haslam broke promise on mental health funding

Excerpt from a Betty Bean column on Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett’s dispute with Gov. Bill Haslam, who the former state senator says had indicated the state would help with funding for a behavioral health urgent care unit (formerly known as the safety center).

Knox County put $1 million aside for the facility several years ago, plus another $200,000 in this year’s budget. Mayor Madeline Rogero has set aside $200,000. That won’t be enough, but Burchett vowed to find the money and dismissed the explanation he was given for the administration’s decision.

“I was misled about that, and I’m very put out about it. I was told, ‘Mental health is a local issue.’ Well, dadgummit, then, why do we have a Department of Mental Health in the state of Tennessee?”

He said the largest mental health hospitals in the state are the Shelby County, Davidson County and Knox County jails, and didn’t dodge the question of whether denial of state funds amounts to a broken promise by Gov. Bill Haslam:

“Yes. I’m of the opinion it was – but regardless of the state’s partnership, we’re going to go ahead with it…”

Burchett said about half of mentally ill inmates are veterans and accused the governor of breaking his promise that funding would follow the patients after he shut down Lakeshore Institute in 2012.

“We closed down Lakeshore and everybody loves Lakeshore Park – but where are those people going? You drive under any major bridge in Knoxville, you’ll see the human cost.”

A couple of days after his talk show appearances, Burchett still hadn’t cooled off, and said he was offended that Haslam was pleading budget constraints while spending $8 million subsidizing the TV show “Nashville.”

“They pulled the rug out from under us. I don’t like it when they start explaining that they didn’t get as much money as they expected, but I see all these little projects getting funded. I spent 16 years in the Legislature, was on the Senate Finance Committee and chaired the Budget Subcommittee. I know the system and I don’t like hearing that crap. I know that taking care of the mentally ill’s not sexy like that miserable TV show – which has been cancelled, thank goodness – but when they talk about return on investment, I say, ‘What about investing in somebody not going to jail when what they need is treatment?’”

State’s April revenues $185M above estimates

News release from Department of Finance and Administration
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee tax revenues exceeded budgeted estimates in April. Department of Finance and Administration Commissioner Larry Martin today announced that overall April revenues were $1.8 billion, which is $185.0 million more than the state budgeted.

“Total reported revenues in April reflect significant improvement over this time last year in both sales and business taxes,” Martin said. “While franchise and excise taxes and income tax revenues are typically large in the month of April, much of the state’s revenue growth is a result of strong sales taxes, reflecting consumer confidence in Tennessee.”

On an accrual basis, April is the ninth month in the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

General fund revenues were more than the budgeted estimates in the amount of $165.9 million while the four other funds that share in state tax revenues were $19.1 million more than the estimates.
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