By Max Hrenda
Gov. Bill Haslam’s revised budget for the upcoming fiscal year has already faced controversy, even though it is just over one day old.
Political opponents claim Haslam has not focused enough on job creation. He has also faced criticism over a school voucher program that would use public funds to send certain children to private schools.
One of Haslam’s revisions that has not been as widely publicized, however, is one that rewards communities for self-improvement.
“You want a happy, healthy, crime-free, smart community,” said Carter County Tomorrow President Tom Anderson. “This is more or less a bootstrap approach to kind of pick yourself up.”
This bootstrap approach, known as the ThreeStar program, rewards counties for improvements in education, health, crime rates, and other aspects of a community.
Anderson, whose organization unites city, county, and business leaders for economic development, said that the latest revisions make financial awards more attainable and less tedious.
“I think it’s a lot more workable,” Anderson said. “It’s a lot more specific, and a lot less labor-intensive. And we don’t have ridiculous amounts of paperwork to produce.”