Democrats call Gov. Haslam's addiction treatment dollars 'paltry'

Jan 30, 2018

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  Gov. Bill Haslam is out with his state budget proposal, a plan he outlined Monday night during his final State of the State address before the Tennessee General Assembly.

Before detailing his budget priorities for the fiscal year that begins in July, Haslam touted his administrations accomplishments. He noted record low unemployment, advances in education, lower taxes and job creation.

gov. Bill Haslam
Credit capitol.tn.gov

The governor then challenged lawmakers to maintain that momentum.

“I want Tennessee to lead the nation in jobs, education and government efficiency. I don’t just want us to compete. I want us to be the best.”

The Tennessean notes that Haslam’s budget proposal calls for new spending on education, workforce development and opioid addiction treatment,. It also calls for some $200 million in cuts to state services, including the elimination of more than 300 state workers.

Democrats promptly labeled Haslam’s request for additional addiction treatment dollars “paltry.” State Senator Jeff Yarbro cited data from the CDC to argue Tennessee needs to do more.

“There are approximately a million people in the State of Tennessee at some stage of opiate misuse, abuse or treatment. This plan is about $25 for each one of them.”

Democrats are calling for $250 million for opioid addiction treatment, ten times the governor’s request.

Yarbro also cited other challenges facing the state, including a declining labor force participation rate, and the closure of 9 mostly rural hospitals in the past two years.

Would you like to watch the governor's State of the State address? (Begins at about 22 minutes)