NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee’s unemployment rate for January was 7.7 percent, a slight increase from the previous month.
Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Karla Davis said Thursday that there are more than 2.8 million people employed in Tennessee.
That’s the highest employment total for the state since December 2007.
The unemployment rate for last December was 7.6 percent. The national unemployment rate for January was 7.9 percent.
State figures show that nonfarm employment increased by 7,600 jobs between December and January.
News release from Department of Finance & Administration:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee tax collections continued an overall upward trend in January, even though sales tax collections were worse than the previous year. January sales tax collections represent retail activity that occurred during December. Finance and Administration Commissioner Mark Emkes today announced that overall January revenues were $1.1 billion, which is $15.4 million more than the state budgeted. It’s the sixth consecutive month of overall positive growth this fiscal year, with corporate tax collections, once again, contributing heavily to the upward trend.
“This marks the first month this year that we’ve recorded negative growth in sales tax collections,” Emkes said. “We believe it’s the result of an aggressive November holiday retail marketing strategy, and two additional days of after ‘Black Friday’ shopping, compared to November of 2011.
“Total collections in January seem to indicate that Tennessee continues to slowly recover from the recession, which is the national trend as well. It means we must continue to closely monitor spending and revenues, working with the General Assembly to end the fiscal year with a balanced budget.”
On an accrual basis, January is the sixth month in the 2012-2013 fiscal year.
Almost 200 people are listed as hosts for Gov. Bill Haslam’s re-election fundraiser in Knoxville on Jan. 7, the day before the 108th General Assembly session begins, reports Georgiana Vines. The $1,000-per-person event for Knoxville’s former mayor will be 6-7:30 p.m. at Scripps Networks Interactive, 9721 Sherrill Blvd. Among the hosts is Ken Lowe, chairman of the board, president and CEO of Scripps Networks. The company is separate from The E.W. Scripps Co., which owns the News Sentinel.
…The host committee… includes numerous Knoxville business and professional people and a handful of political figures. Family members, including the governor’s father and stepmother, Jim and Natalie Haslam, also are on the list.
Mike Edwards, president/CEO of the Knoxville Chamber, is listed as a host, although his wife, Susan, is not. She is a vice president with KUB and generally remains out of the political picture. Rhonda Rice, the chamber’s executive vice president, and her husband, Bill, also are hosts.
Fred Marcum, an aide to former U.S. Sen. Howard H. Baker Jr., and Wayne Ritchie, a former state representative from Knoxville, are among the hosts.
The invitation notes an individual maximum for the governor’s race is $7,200 or $14,400 a couple.
Haslam also plans a fundraiser in Nashville before Jan. 8, when the Legislature opens. By state law, neither the governor nor lawmakers can have fundraisers during the session.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A delay in state Rep. Curry Todd’s court case on drunken driving and gun charges will move proceedings until next month.
The Collierville Republican was arrested in October 2011 after failing a roadside sobriety test. A loaded .38-caliber gun was found stuffed between the driver’s seat and center console.
Todd is best known for sponsoring a law that allows people with handgun carry permits to be armed in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of drunken driving, possession of a firearm while under the influence and refusing a breath alcohol test.
Todd had been scheduled to appear in court on Friday, but the hearing was moved to Jan. 11. His attorney said he was still in talks with prosecutors.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — State officials say the number of employed persons in Tennessee is the most in four years.
Officials said the 2.8 million Tennesseans with jobs in January is the most since March 2008. State labor officials cited the figure Thursday as they announced a Tennessee unemployment rate of 8.2 percent, down from 8.5 percent in December.
The national rate was 8.3 percent. The Tennessee figure was below the U.S. rate for the first time since November 2010.
The state’s number of unemployed persons, 257,500, was the fewest since November 2008.
From November to December, the biggest job gain in Tennessee was 3,900 in professional and business services.
News release from Department of Finance and Administration:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee tax collections continued an upward trend in January, reflecting December consumer spending during the holiday buying season. Finance and Administration Commissioner Mark Emkes today announced that overall January revenues were $1.056 billion, which is $37.1 million more than the state budgeted. It’s the sixth consecutive month of positive growth this fiscal year, with sales tax collections once again contributing heavily to the upward trend.
“For nearly two years, we’ve seen growth in sales tax collections, with January being the 22nd consecutive month in which sales taxes have recorded positive growth,” Emkes said. “Holiday sales brought positive growth across Tennessee and the nation, indicating that the economy continues to slowly recover from the worst recession on record.
“Still, due to the uncertainty surrounding resolution of the federal budget, we’ll continue to monitor state spending and work closely with the legislature in order to end the fiscal year with a balanced budget as required by the state’s constitution.”
On an accrual basis, January is the sixth month in the 2011-2012 fiscal year.
The general fund was over collected by $25.9 million and the four other funds were over collected by $11.2 million.
Sales tax collections were $27.6 million more than the estimate for January. The January growth rate was positive 7.47%. For six months revenues are over collected by $84.0 million. The year-to-date growth rate for six months was positive 6.53%.
Franchise and excise taxes combined were $1.2 million above the budgeted estimate of $156.1 million. For six months revenues are over collected by $144.6 million.
Gasoline and motor fuel collections for January increased by 3.73% and were $3.4 million above the budgeted estimate of $69.3 million. For six months revenues are over collected by $0.4 million.
Tobacco tax collections were $2.4 million below the budgeted estimate of $21.6 million, and for six months they are $8.8 million under the budgeted estimate.
Inheritance and estate taxes were over collected by $2.9 million for the month. Year to date collections for six months are $8.5 million more than the budgeted estimate.
Privilege tax collections were $2.7 million more than the January estimate, but on a year to date basis, August through January, collections are $4.3 million below the estimate.
All other taxes were over collected by a net of $1.7 million.
Year-to-date collections for six months were $231.3 million more than the budgeted estimate. The general fund was over collected by $214.2 million and the four other funds were over collected by $17.1 million.
The budgeted revenue estimates for 2011-2012 are based on the State Funding Board’s consensus recommendation of April 15, 2011 and adopted by the first session of the 107th General Assembly in May. They are available on the state’s website at http://www.tn.gov/finance/bud/budget.shtml.
The State Funding Board met on December 9th and 14th to hear updated revenue projections from the state’s various economists. The board met again on December 19th and adopted revised revenue ranges for 2011-2012. The revised ranges assume an over collection of $187.8 million to $220.5 million in total taxes and $177.0 million to $209.6 million in general fund taxes from the fiscal year 2012 budgeted estimate.
In an editorial, the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal disputes a planned delay in making public a redistricting plan for Tennessee congressional and legislative districts by the General Assembly’s Republican majority. Memphis attorney John Ryder was prepared to give legislators a computer-generated redistricting plan by Oct. 1, according to (Sen. Bill) Ketron, but he and other legislators on the committee asked Ryder to wait until January.
Ketron said he sought the later date because he didn’t want to give state lawmakers and others time to “meddle” with the proposal by asking the committee to move district lines here and there to accommodate old friends or family.
The sooner the plan is offered, though, the more time the public and state representatives will have to scrutinize it. That will give more opportunity for a public hearing, of sorts, on the redistricting plan, which is done every 10 years following the federal census to reapportion local, state and congressional districts to ensure equal representation through the principle of “one man, one vote.”