FRIDAY, MAY 18, 2012Haslam signs cash grants plan (Associated Press)
Gov. Bill Haslam has signed a measure to increase the amount of cash grants available to companies looking toinvest in Tennessee. The administration legislation will allow the state to provide Fast Track grants for retrofitting,relocation, office upgrades or temporary space for companies investing in Tennessee. The measure passed theSenate 29-1 last month and the House concurred with that version 92-0 the next day. The current Fast Trackprogram is limited to jobs training and infrastructure improvements. The state has appropriated $217 million tothe program over the last three budget years and Haslam proposed pouring another $80 million for the currentand upcoming budget year.http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2012/may/17/haslam-signs-cash-grants-plan/
Haslam signs FastTrack bill to attract more companies to Tennessee (TFP/Sher)
Gov. Bill Haslam has signed a bill that offers more outright cash grants than tax incentives to attract companiesto locate or expand in Tennessee. The legislation aims to support economic development in rural communitiesand on major projects with significant impact. Tennessee's current FastTrack program makes grants to localindustrial development boards for employee job training and infrastructure improvements, such as atVolkswagen's Chattanooga plant. Haslam's initiative expands the program to help pay costs for relocation,retrofitting, office upgrades or temporary space for companies making investments in the state. "Tennessee isrecognized as one of the best places to do business in the country," Haslam said in a statement. "This legislationgives us another tool in the toolbox to help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high-quality jobs by focusing on our rural communities and recruiting and growing significant jobs."http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/may/18/chattanooga-haslam-signs-business-fasttrack-bill/?businesstnvalley
Gov. Bill Haslam signs legislation to expand FastTrack program (Nooga)
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced today that he has signed legislation to expand the state’s FastTrackprogram to specifically support economic development in rural communities and for exceptional projects. Thegovernor proposed the legislation, HB 2344/SB 2206, in January to create the FastTrack Economic DevelopmentFund, an expansion of the Department of Economic and Community Development’s current infrastructure and job-training program. The legislation resulted from a 12-month review of ECD’s incentive programs with inputfrom companies, site-selection consultants and economic development stakeholders. By making reimbursablegrants to local industrial development boards, the fund provides additional grant support for companiesexpanding or locating in Tennessee, and the legislation stipulates that the fund will only be used in exceptionalcases where the impact of the company on a given community is significant.http://www.nooga.com/155377/gov-bill-haslam-signs-legislation-to-expand-fasttrack-program/
AP Interview: Haslam Mulls Expansion of Pre-K (Associated Press/Schelzig)
Gov. Bill Haslam says he's considering a funding increase for the state's public pre-kindergarten program, amove that would put him at odds with some fellow Republicans in the Legislature. The governor told TheAssociated Press in an interview this week that Tennessee's improving revenue picture could allow the state toresume pre-K expansion. The pre-K program is currently available to at-risk children – education jargon for thoseeligible for free and reduced lunches. Haslam's Democratic predecessor Phil Bredesen had called for makingpre-K available to any family that chooses to enroll their child, but those plans were put on hold because of therecession. Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey of Blountville is among several Republican lawmakers who have beenvocal critics of the pre-K program.