Tag Archives: start

Budgeting Decisions: Filmkakers vs. Child Abuse?

The Tennessean has a couple of interesting stories on state budget issues that, perhaps, present a bit of a contrast.
One features entertainment industry folks lamenting that the state doesn’t give away enough incentive money to movie producers so that they are enticed to film in Tennessee.
Even as states like Louisiana, Georgia and North Carolina sweeten the pot for filmmakers, Tennessee’s film fund, along with proposed legislation to expand incentives, is not gathering steam under Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration…. Whereas other states cover up to 30 percent of an in-state film’s production, sometimes without spending limits, Tennessee offers filmmakers a 17 percent production discount.
The other features concerns over the pending end to funding for Healthy Start, a program that aims to prevent child abuse and neglect in enrolled families.
The state spends a little over $3 million a year on the program, which is funded through DCS and administered by the state Health Department. There are eight community-based agencies throughout the state, including Middle Tennessee sites in Nashville and Shelbyville.
The Metro Public Health Department serves about 160 to 180 families in the program annually and has seen significant outcomes, said Dr. Kimberlee Wyche-Etheridge, director of the Family Youth and Infant Health Bureau. Families stay in the program for three to five years and are offered services to improve parent-child interaction and decrease dependency on public assistance, among other things.
“It’s not a quick fix of one or two home visits, but it’s a long-term commitment to a family to get them in a place where the child’s well-being is optimized,” she said.

Note: The Haslam administration is opposing both new handouts to the film industry and renewed funding for Healthy Start.

The Return of the Legislature 2012: A Race to Adjournment (with speed bumps)

It’s the time for here-comes-the-legislature stories. The Tennessean’s version is HERE, the Commercial Appeal’s version HERE, and the one cobbled together by yours truly for the News Sentinel follows.
Republican leaders hope to set the pace for the 2012 legislative session that begins Tuesday with rapid action on redistricting, followed by a streamlined agenda that avoids as much time-consuming controversy as possible in this election year.
The desire for controversy avoidance, however, is not uniform. There are some divisions within majority Republican ranks. Minority Democrats plan to push for at least a debate on favored topics, such as repeal of a law requiring a photo ID for voting and a reduction in the sales tax on groceries.
Lawmakers will find Gov, Bill Haslam, who assumed the role of spectator for significant portions of the controversy-laden 2011 session, already stepping forward to help with the streamlining and controversy avoidance. That seems part of a declared intention to be more of an activist in legislative doings.
“We’ve had the chance to do our homework better,” he said. “Because of that, and because you’ve been around the track one time, I think it’s a little bit easier to be engaged in more things than we were last year.”
The governor has already moved to delete from the 2012 agenda such issues as creation of a school voucher system, revisions to a new teacher evaluation system and major reform of the state’s workers’ compensation laws.
Those matters should be put off until 2013 while task forces study them, Haslam says. House Speaker Beth Harwell and Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey have indicated they will go along with shelving the issues.

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