A Note from Gov. Bill Haslam
Posted: Friday, April 15, 2011 8:01 pm
On March 14, I had the privilege of delivering my first State of the State address to the 107th General Assembly and the people of Tennessee. I was pleased to report that relative to many other states, we are in a strong position. There are, however, tough choices ahead, and the budget I proposed addresses these challenges.
It is important that we realize current financial constraints are not a temporary condition. What we’re seeing today really is the “new normal.” Every government will be forced to reassess how it sets priorities and makes choices. Transforming state government will set new expectations for what services we should be providing and how well we are delivering those services. Productivity should be the standard – the measure - for all we do in state government.
Along with being realistically conservative, the budget I proposed reflects my administration’s top priorities:
• To make Tennessee the number one location in the Southeast for high quality jobs by fostering a business-friendly environment for recruitment and expansion;
• To continue our state’s momentum in education reform with the focus on doing what’s best for Tennessee children in the classroom;
• And to ensure the state budget is managed conservatively and state government is run as efficiently and effectively as possible while delivering quality service to the citizens of Tennessee.
Tennesseans expect my administration and the General Assembly to work together to find consensus on a responsible and realistic spending plan, to educate our children, to encourage great teachers and to create more jobs.
There has been a lot of discussion about education and particularly the role of teachers during the legislative session thus far. My goal is to make Tennessee a place where great educators want to teach and feel rewarded and appreciated for their efforts. For example, tenure reform is an effort to recognize and reward achievement by our best teachers. Charter schools open new opportunities for learning, and we’re asking to allow more students across Tennessee to have the option of a charter school as a learning environment.
Our goal in education, from pre-kindergarten through post-secondary, is to grow the number of college graduates, provide a better educated workforce for employers looking to relocate or expand in Tennessee, and to let free market forces do the rest.
Our approach to government is to do away with excessive laws, rules and regulations that stifle innovation and new ideas. Government doesn’t create new jobs. What government can do is to create an environment that encourages Tennessee’s entrepreneurial spirit and to foster a culture that embraces smart growth through an educated and trained workforce.
I am committed to working with the General Assembly to set our sights on planning for the future, to think boldly, to be willing to ask questions, to gather good research and to take steps together – as a team – to set an example for how things that make a difference are uncovered and how they get done.
It is an honor to serve as governor of the great state of Tennessee, and
I appreciate the opportunity to update you on what I am working on.
To learn more about my proposed budget, please visit www.tn.gov/stateofthestate/media/.