TN Budget Hearings Under Way amid Bleak Forecasts

Nashville, TN – Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen says the state's bleak budget picture leads him to expect the next six months to be his most difficult time as governor. Bredesen is getting public budget hearings under way on Monday, beginning with the Education Department. Leaders in both parties agree that they want to spare K-12 education from the deep cuts that will be necessary in other areas. Bredesen has asked each department to present plans to cut up to 9% from their spending plan for the upcoming budget year. That's on top of the average of 12% cuts in place this year. Complicating budget planning is that federal stimulus money will run out by the middle of the upcoming budget year.