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"Catastrophic" Funding Cuts Coming July 2011?

November 10, 2010

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - State-funded services are already stretched thin in such areas as mental health and children's programs, so a $1.5 billion budget shortfall will force incoming Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam to make some very difficult choices.

John Stewart, former board chairman for Tennesseans For Fair Taxation, believes the long-neglected state infrastructure, which includes everything from education to environmental protection, is at serious risk.

"It's looking line-by-line in terms of the state budget and analyzing the impact of the cuts that have already been made, and the probable impact of further cuts that are being discussed."

Stewart predicts some of the children's services that have already seen deep cuts, as well as aid programs for Tennesseans with mental health challenges, could be devastated.

"It's not as though there's some private sector provider out there who steps in. If the government does not have funds to support these activities, they just go away."

In an effort to forge policy recommendations, a nonpartisan state budget forecast and policy forum will be held next week. "Creating Solutions" is Nov. 16 from 9:00 a.m. to noon at the Boys & Girls Club Auditorium, 220 Carrick St., Knoxville. The event is free of charge but advance registration is required, at More about the event is online at

Randy O'Brien, Public News Service - TN