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"Unlike the news coming out of our nation's capitol and so many other states around the country, good things are happening in Tennessee," says Gov. Haslam.
During his 3rd State of the State Address, Haslam makes education reform a key topic, including raising the number of college graduates, and starting a voucher program to give low income students in low performing schools the option of attending private schools.
"Dollars alone don't lead to improvement. There has to be a plan," says Governor Haslam. "Along with strategic investments, we are pursuing real reform in education that is producing results."
Highlights of the Governor's budget proposal include a quarter percent reduction in the sales tax on food, a 1.5% pay raise for state employees, and adding $100 million to the state's rainy day fund, bringing the balance to $456 million.
"That leadership is what we need to make and empower our citizens to be more successful," says Rep. Glen Casada (R-Williamson County).
Republicans were quick to praise Gov. Haslam's speech and the direction he's proposing.
"With our low tax burden, our low regulatory environment, our low debt per capita, our state is in a good place, but there is more to do," says Sen. Jack Johnson (R-Williamson County).
Democrats are more measured in their praise and some ideas like the school voucher plan are already drawing criticism.
"I don't think anybody thinks vouchers are good policy," says Rep. Mike Stewart (D-Nashville). "They are certainly good as a political statement to certain far right elements of the Republican Party."
The Governor knows it is now up to the 132 lawmakers to ultimately approve or reject his agenda.
"People want good quality jobs," says Governor Haslam. "People want their children to have the best education possible, and as a state we should want the same for those kids."
The Governor's $32.7 billion budget proposal is bigger than last year's plan. However, almost half of the new money will go toward higher expenses in TennCare. COMING UP TONIGHT on FOX17 NEWS: more on the Governor's plan to have more college graduates in Tennessee.
Monday, January 28 2013, 11:22 PM CST
Miss. chooses new firm to run Woodville prison
May 18, 2013 20:50 GMT
WOODVILLE, Miss. (AP) -- Mississippi officials have picked a new company to run the Wilkinson County Correctional Facility.
Utah-based Management and Training Corp. announced Friday that the Mississippi Department of Corrections has chosen it to run the 1,000-bed prison starting July 1, the Natchez Democrat reports (http://bit.ly/10MvOGv).
Corrections Corporation of America, based in Nashville, Tenn., had run the prison since 1998. MTC says it will keep "the vast majority" of employees.
MTC will get a five-year contract to run the prison with two one-year options. Last year, officials chose MTC to take over East Mississippi Correctional Facility, the Walnut Grove Correctional Facility and the Marshall County Correctional Facility from the GEO Group. MTC won 10-year contracts for each.
CCA still runs the Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility and the Adams County Correctional Center in Mississippi.
Information from: The Natchez Democrat, http://www.natchezdemocrat.com/
Gauge of US economy's future health up in April
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A measure of the U.S. economy's future health rose in solidly in April, buoyed by a sharp rise in applications to build new homes and apartments.
BC-US--Dow Record-Three Personal Stories, 1st Ld-Writethru,1173
Dow Record: Three tales of ups, downs and changes
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By SCOTT MAYEROWITZ
AP Business Writer
NEW YORK (AP) -- When the Dow first crossed 14,000, investors were overjoyed. ...
IN THE NEWS: LABOR GROUP SAYS CONDITIONS AT APPLE PLANTS IMPROVING
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A labor group Apple joined to assess working conditions at three manufacturing plants in China, where its products are made, says conditions are getting better.
ON THIN ICE?
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- He was already on thin ice with the law when he failed to meet the conditions of his probation.