BRADENTON, Fla. - Tennessee lawmakers adjourned their legislative session Thursday after passing a nearly $30 billion budget that made some cuts in the bottom line but also relies on $2.2 billion in federal stimulus funds.
The budget includes a four-year bond plan to finance $350 million for the state's bridge program as well as using $157 million of debt, instead of cash, for higher education capital education projects. Although it is a multi-year debt authorization, the bridge program also requires lawmakers to authorize funding for debt service in each of the four years the bonds are to be sold.
A complete list of debt authorized by the new appropriations bill was not immediately available on Friday.
The fiscal 2010 budget represents a 10.1% reduction in state appropriations, or $1.4 billion less in spending compared to the current budget.
"This was a difficult budget to craft and navigate through, but I am pleased the General Assembly ultimately passed a budget that largely reflects the plan I outlined in March," Gov. Phil Bredesen said in a statement.
In March, Bredesen outlined a multi-year budget proposal for using one-time federal funds authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act within the context of unprecedented declines in state revenues.
In late May, as revenues continued to deteriorate, the governor recommended additional savings with a plan that also forestalled some of the most painful reductions in state services and delayed the implementation of staff reductions, he said.
"This budget keeps us on a multi-year path to preserve budget stability, maintaining healthy cash reserves while ramping down state spending to achieve continued balanced budgets that match recurring revenues to recurring expenses," Bredesen said.
The new budget takes effect July 1.