Thursday, November 19, 2009
TNInvestco, TTDC budget prospects
This week, Gov. Phil Bredesen, his Cabinet and their staffs are reviewing each agency's budget issues, and face a myriad of challenges amid an economic recovery that promises to drag on for years. During a break in the hearings, the Governor and Economic and Development Commissioner Matt Kisber entertained reporters' questions. We asked for their comments regarding further funding for Tennessee Technology Development Corporation (TTDC) and how the Administration might fare in asking the General Assembly to authorize an additional $40MM in premium-tax credit allocations, to fund two additional TNInvestco proposals that were deemed meritorious in the latest round, but which went unfunded. Kisber said cautiously the climate is "favorable" for authorization of further TNInvestco allocations, (a program which is viewed as producing a net return for the state, economically). Regarding TTDC, Kisber noted that TTDC continues to work to achieve the objectives on which funding has previously been predicated, and must now demonstrate they have achieved enough progress to warrant further funding. TTDC has projected that the $5MM it obtained through a contract with Kisber's ECD will be virtually exhausted by June 30, 2010, and is pressing for what TTDC sometimes refers to as a B-round, given that it feels constrained from seeking funding from the same private-sector and other sponsors who now support TTDC stakeholder groups. Commenting on such requests, generally, Gov. Bredesen indicated there'd be efforts not to "gut" organizations and programs that rely on state funding. Meanwhile, comments by all hands throughout this week's budget hearings suggest that a Damoclean Sword may hover over the General Assembly, when it convenes in about seven weeks.