Across the state
• State tax collections for May were $767 million — the second consecutive month this fiscal year in which sales tax collections posted positive growth over the year before. Before April, the state had not seen positive growth since May of 2008. However, the collections were not adequate to keep pace with state spending. The total was $18.6 million less than the state budgeted. On an accrual basis, May is the 10th month in the 2009-2010 fiscal year.
• The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved that state’s request for federal farm assistance for 13 counties in West and Middle Tennessee due to losses caused by the historic rainfall and subsequent flooding that began on April 30. State officials say crop losses could have been a lot worse but that damages to farm infrastructure and access to the rail system in West Tennessee has affected the agricultural community tremendously.
• The Chicago Tribune reported that Knoxville-based AC Entertainment, co-producers of the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Coffee County, is among the partnership planning to establish an American counterpart for one of Europe's premier electronic music festivals — the Barcelona, Spain-based Sonar festival. The event is slated to take place in Chicago this September.
• Forbes magazine listed Knoxville in its annual list of the top 10 places to raise a family. Criteria included low crime, solid educational prospects and the ability for most people to readily afford the daily essentials. Knoxville was ranked eighth nationally. Des Moines, Iowa was ranked first.
In its fourth expansion since 2002, LJT Tennessee — Steel Warehouse announced an $11 million project, which will create at least 84 new jobs. The mechanical and structural grade steel tubing manufacturer and flat-rolled steel service center will make a $1.8 million investment in real property, including two building expansions totaling 70,000 square feet at its Centre South Riverport Industrial Park location. Another $9.2 million will be invested in new personal property. LJT currently employs 125 people at its 210,000-square-foot plant.
Gold River Feed Products announced it would open a new location in Shelbyville, a $7.3 million investment in Bedford County that will create 34 jobs over the next five years. The Kentucky-based company is a provider of feeds, commodities, mineral products and farm hardware.
Mayor A.C. Wharton Jr. and several Memphis business leaders traveled to Mexico to meet with senior federal officials regarding joint economic development opportunities.
For all her celebrity and economic impact on the state, Dolly Parton’s biggest contribution to the state’s economic engine may well come in efforts to promote literacy. Parton once told BusinessTN that “Growing up in the hills of East Tennessee, I saw all kinds of folks who had trouble reading and writing — including my own father. It made it real hard for them to make a living.” Parton’s response to the problem was her Imagination Library, a program she started in Sevier County in 1995 to help preschool children own their own collections of books. From its modest beginnings, the Imagination Library is now up and running statewide, nationwide and even internationally. Earlier this month, the program announced that it had given away its 25 millionth book.
— For more statewide business news, visit BusinessTN.
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