Haslam defends proposed government job cuts during Memphis visit - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Haslam defends proposed government job cuts during Memphis visit

By Jamel Major - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam defended his proposal to cut 1,200 government jobs during a stop Thursday in Memphis.

In his first State of the State address, delivered earlier this week, Haslam called for the elimination of 1,200 government positions while giving a raise to remaining state workers.

"The reality of this budget was driven by the fact that we have 1.4 billion dollars less than we did last year," he said Thursday. "Most of that is federal funds that we've lost. You can't lose $1.4 billion without feeling it."

But some aren't happy with Haslam's proposed budget, including protestors who were arrested in Nashville earlier this week at a rally for student rights and living wages for university workers.

Under Haslam's proposal, hundreds of state employee jobs will be cut, many of them vacant positions that won't be filled. However, remaining state employees will get a 1.6 salary increase, which would be their first in four years.

"What we tried to do throughout the budget, where we made cuts, was to make them on the administrative end rather than the direct services, so people receiving services felt it in as small a way as possible," Haslam said.

The Governor also plans to make cuts to higher education. A number of universities and community colleges will endure hundreds of thousands of dollars in cuts.

"Higher education has about a 2 percent cut," Haslam said. "You're going to continue to feel the pressure on campuses. I would like that not to happen, but we have to make adjustments."

Haslam does not expect the state's finances to fully recover until 2014.

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