HEADLINES : Tennessee
Tennessee budget compromise moves on to Haslam for approval
NASHVILLE -- The Tennessee Legislature has approved the state's more than $31 billion annual spending plan and sent it to Gov. Bill Haslam.
The House voted 64-28 to adopt the budget proposal agreed to in a rare conference committee late last week following disagreements over local projects.
The Senate passed it 31-2 shortly afterward with little debate.
In the House, the Republican majority quickly dispatched four Democratic proposals that sought to restore regional projects, add funding for higher education to curb tuition hikes and make a further reduction in the state's sales tax on groceries.
Democratic House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley said the changes would be funded through better-than-expected revenue collections that Republicans have refused to include in their projections.
"This is cash in the bank that we simply need to recognize, ladies and gentlemen," Fitzhugh said.
House Finance Chairman Charles Sargent, R-Franklin, said Gov. Bill Haslam's administration wants to keep the extra revenue in reserve to protect against expected cost increases for the state related to the federal health care overhaul.