Nashville, TN – Tennessee lawmakers say the stickiest issue this session will probably be how much of the state's reserve funds should be used to save programs that risk being cut to save a budget shortfall. The state is expected to be nearly a billion dollars in the hole, and Governor Phil Bredesen will give lawmakers an idea of just how bad the situation is in his State of the State address today.
Many lawmakers say programs that benefit the state's most vulnerable citizens should be saved. But they're awaiting the governor's address before deciding how much should be taken from reserves. Currently, $533 million is in the rainy day fund and $342 million in TennCare reserves.