Jobs, the economy, and health care were recurring topics for discussion on Capitol Hill as the General Assembly completed the third week of the regular 2010 legislative session. While Senate committees are beginning to move a number of bills to the floor for final consideration, they continue to be updated on a wide variety of important matters facing Tennesseans. These subjects range from what Tennessee is doing to battle cancer to how we can better use technological advances to help struggling students succeed.
Two Reports released this week provide grim economic forecast
Two separate reports were released this week, providing a grim forecast for Tennessee's immediate economic recovery. The first, which is the state's January revenue report, showed our state is in its 20th consecutive month in which sales taxes have recorded negative growth. The revenue report tracks Tennessee's tax collections on a month to month basis and is an important guide to help construct the budget. The news was particularly disappointing because the December holiday sales tax collections had showed a slight improvement at the national level.
Tennessee's sales tax collections continue to be a concern for the state's general fund. Year-to-date collections for the first six months of the fiscal year, which began July 1, are $185 million less than the budgeted estimate. They also performed worse than the national average in the third quarter of 2009. If the trend continues to show under collection, it could mean the state's Funding Board will have to adjust the budget estimates for the 2010-11 budget year when it meets on March 31. The budget presented by Governor Bredesen last week is crafted from the high end of the revenue figures adopted by the Funding Board at a 1.9 percent growth rate.
The second report, prepared by the University of Tennessee's Center for Business and Economic Research, focuses on Tennessee's economic outlook over the next several years. The study claims it will take "well over two years" for the state's economy to rebound fully mainly due to Tennessee's high unemployment rate.... read the rest of the story by Subscribing now.