Tag Archives: estimates

Legislators Question Taft Renovation Estimates

News release from Rep. Cameron Sexton’s office:
Nashville, TN – Over the last few months there has been a lot back and forth about the proposed closing of Taft Youth Development Center in Bledsoe County. The Department of Children Services has maintained Taft needs $37 million in improvements to remain open.
A bipartisan coalition of legislators joined together to oppose the closing of Taft Youth Center. Senator Eric Stewart (D-Belvidere), Representative Jim Cobb (R-Spring City), Representative Bill Harmon (D-Dunlap) and Representative Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville).
A few weeks ago Representative Sexton asked Commissioner O’Day to provide an itemize list detailing the $37 million price tag for improvements.
“Yesterday, Commissioner O’Day and her staff sent the requested information to us outlining the cost to rebuild Taft. It appears from the information we received, Commissioner O’Day is more concerned about the rehabilitation of the buildings at Taft than the rehabilitation of the students. To demolish buildings simply due to their age is short-sighted and leaves me to believe there is much more behind her proposal than what is being stated publically. I think it’s time we get to the bottom of it,” Senator Stewart stated.
In the release of information from Commissioner O’Day, DCS stated that five Taft buildings would need to be demolished and replaced at a cost of $28,790,737.50 due to the age of the structures.
“I have toured the facility multiple times and I am incredulous to the department’s desire to demolish buildings based simply on the year the building was built. Using that rationale, we should demolish the State Capitol and rebuild it because it is old too, built in 1859,” said Sexton.

Note/Update: A Crossville Chronicle article on the matter is HERE.

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State Funding Board Estimates At Least 3.1 Percent Revenue Growth Next Year

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — More money should be coming into the state as a result of an improving economy, but high gas prices that are eating up people’s disposable income are also affecting Tennessee’s revenue projections, the State Funding Board said Friday.
Under the best-case scenario adopted by the panel, general fund collections in the budget year beginning July 1 will be at least $18.5 million, or 3.4 percent more than the current fiscal year’s estimate. Most state government expenses come from the general fund.
“I think the numbers we’ve come up with are realistic,” said Finance Commissioner Mark Emkes, a member of the board.
Besides Emkes, the panel includes the three constitutional officers appointed by the Republican Legislature: Comptroller Justin Wilson, Secretary of State Tre Hargett and Treasurer David Lillard. Its estimates are used by the governor and lawmakers for budget planning purposes.
Emkes said the projections are somewhat modest because “we’ve got to keep an eye on events happening globally that could potentially negatively impact us,” such as the turmoil in the Middle East that’s spiked gas prices.
“But at the same time, just as oil prices have gone up because of the turbulence over there, once that’s brought under control, oil prices could come down again,” he said. “So, we just need to keep an eye on it.”
Panel members also pointed to the state’s improving sales tax collections, which they say could eventually prove their projections to be “conservative.”
Tax collections grew 8 percent in March, the highest rate in five years. Sales taxes account for two out of every three tax dollars collected in Tennessee. The last time the growth rate exceeded 8 percent was in February 2006.
“The sales tax revenues give us reason to be hopeful,” Hargett said.
Gov. Bill Haslam told reporters earlier this week that he wants to take a cautious approach despite the promising revenue figures. He noted that the state spending plan still uses $160 million in reserves to fund ongoing “core services.”
“That’s one-time money, so we have to recognize that,” he said. “And I think at the right time we’ll have to build our rainy day fund back up. So I wouldn’t go spending that, given the fact that there’s $160 million of that essential service money carry over from last year that we’re spending.”

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