Tag Archives: Fast

Haslam’s New Budget Adjustment Adds $45 Million for ‘Fast Track’ Grants

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration on Tuesday rolled out its amendment to the appropriations bill, which includes nearly $45 million to increase the amount of cash grants available to companies looking to invest in Tennessee.
The measure allows the state to provide Fast Track grants for retrofitting, relocation, office upgrades or temporary space for companies investing in Tennessee.
“The money is linked to two or three potential employee expansions or new locations here,” Haslam told reporters after a speech to the state Chamber of Commerce. “We’re not there yet, but we wanted to put something in the budget.”
The state has appropriated more than $200 million to the program over the last three budget years and Haslam proposed pouring another $80 million for last year and this year.
Other items in the budget amendment include:
— $5 million from the tobacco settlement for health programs.
— 3 million for planning for the State Library and Archives and State Museum.
— $1.4 million for peer support centers run by the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
— $1.3 million for infrastructure at Rocky Fork State Park;
— $1 million for a nursing program at Parsons Center of the University of Tennessee-Martin.
— $1 million for the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.

GM Took State’s $17 Million, Then Went Away

As General Motors teetered on the brink of collapse nearly three years ago, it was able to tap an unexpected source of cash: the state of Tennessee, reports Chas Sisk.
The automotive giant received nearly $17 million — most of it in the week after executives disclosed the cash crisis that ultimately led to a federal bailout. The grants made GM the biggest single recipient of cash for job training from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, a database obtained by The Tennessean shows.
Part of the FastTrack incentive package that helped Tennessee bring production of the Chevy Traverse to GM’s Spring Hill plant, the grants were meant to train thousands of new workers who would hold down high-paying jobs for decades. But most of those jobs are no longer in Tennessee, as GM shifted production of the Traverse to Lansing, Mich., in 2009.
The outcome of the Traverse project in Spring Hill points out that there are few certainties behind the state’s efforts to spark economic development through incentive programs. While the announcement of investments generates optimism and headlines, downturns in the economy, business decisions and other factors can later sap projects of the touted benefits.
More than $250 million in incentives have been awarded for economic development through FastTrack and related programs, according to a database of more than 3,800 transactions dating back to 1999 and released by the department last month. Of that, $78 million has gone directly to companies for job training.
GM is not the only company to receive FastTrack job training grants, only to later pull back its presence in Tennessee. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and Peterbilt Motors Co. also rank among the top 15 recipients of job training awards in that span; both have since laid off hundreds of workers.