Tennessee Senate passes $37B spending plan for next year

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Tennessee’s $37 billion state budget proposal is heading to Gov. Bill Haslam after the Senate passed it easily.

Senators approved the plan in a 28-2 vote Monday.

Prospects for a smooth landing looked shaky last week, as House members bitterly fought over the bill and tacked on hundreds of millions of dollars in new spending. The House resolved its differences the next day, stripped the extra money out and passed the bill.

The only major change that remained from the House action would direct $55 million to county road programs. That money had originally been designated by Haslam to start tackling a $10 billion backlog in state highway and bridge projects.

Tennessee’s constitution requires lawmakers to pass a balanced budget plan every year. The next budget year starts July 1.