Gov. Haslam's Taxing Budget Problem

The first priority for Gov.-elect Bill Haslam may be to sit down with the hospital association in order to avoid a $1 billion hole in the state budget. The hospitals agreed to a hospital tax last year that allowed the state to use the funds as a match to draw down federal Medicaid funds for TennCare.

Not only does Haslam need to get the hospitals to extend the tax, but the fee may need to be raised to cover a shortfall in TennCare. The situation is dicey because there are some hospitals that have relatively few TennCare patients, and some hospitals are afraid legislators will use the federal funds to offset spending in something other than TennCare.