Last night, Gov. Bill Lee delivered his annual State of the State address to the General Assembly and fellow Tennesseans. I was fortunate to attend and learn first-hand the governor’s proposed investments in higher education.
Among the highlights of the governor’s proposed budget investments:
- A 5% salary pool increase for state employees, as well as investments in employee health insurance and 401k contributions.
- Full funding for the higher education funding formula.
- An 8.1% total operating increase for the UT System.
- $28 million in funding to construct the Tennessee Water Education and Training (WET) Center, which will be a first-of-its-kind facility housed at UTIA’s Lone Oaks Farm. The WET Center will provide opportunities for hands-on training programs in hydraulics, hydrology, erosion, and flood management. The West Tennessee River Basin Authority, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), and the UT Institute of Agriculture partnered in this effort.
- $5.1 million recurring for the critical Grow Your Own partnership UT has with the Tennessee Department of Education.
- $5 million nonrecurring for the Transportation Network Growth and Opportunity Initiative, known as TNGO. TNGO’s focus is to strategically grow and sustain Tennessee’s future mobility innovation economy through research and development partnerships, which will bolster our university research efforts.
- $30 million in capital maintenance for projects across the UT System.
- Additional operating funds for the UTHSC and UTCVM.
We are grateful for Gov. Lee’s support and look forward to working with the legislature as they consider this budget proposal.
To track the progress of this budget proposal, or to receive updates on legislative information impacting the University of Tennessee, please consider joining the UT Advocacy Network: https://advocacy.tennessee.edu.
President, The University of Tennessee System
Tags: Education, Gov. Bill Lee, Grow Your Own, UT System