Bill Haslam said he'll use money from the "core services reserve " set up by his predecessor to push back big budget cuts for a year:
"Our plans are we probably will use that this year," Haslam said, but he pointed out it in no way offsets $1.5 billion in federal stimulus, reserve and other funds that are going away July 1.
The reserve fund itself will end next year, he said, "and we want to use it judiciously."
Last year, Gov. Phil Bredesen and lawmakers set up the reserve to continue important programs through this fiscal year. That includes $1.5 million to provide emergency services to seriously mentally ill people; $11.9 million for health programs including cervical and renal disease initiatives; $15.28 million for certain school health programs and $15 million for extended contracts for K-12 teachers.
"Those are the programs it was intended to fund," said Rep. Kent Williams, I-Elizabethton, who was House speaker last year when the fund was established.
It allows Haslam to preserve 394 jobs until July 1, 2012, although officials have said many of those are currently vacant.