Gov. Lee asks state agencies to cut budgets by 12%

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Bill Lee

FILE – In this March 16, 2020, file photo, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee answers questions concerning the state’s response to the coronavirus during a news conference in Nashville, Tenn. Tennessee abortion providers are asking a federal judge to order that abortions can go forward despite an executive order from Gov. Lee aimed at reducing the spread of the coronavirus. Their lawyers argue in a motion filed on Monday, April 13, 2020, that Lee’s order blocking “nonemergency healthcare procedures” should not apply to abortions. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Lee has asked all state agencies to find ways to slash their budgets by 12% and submit their new proposals by the end of June.

Department of Finance and Administration Commissioner Butch Eley told lawmakers of the governor’s latest budget instructions on Thursday. The request was made to the revenue shortfalls Tennessee has experienced due to the coronavirus outbreak, which caused mass business shutdowns in a state heavily dependent on sales tax revenue.

According to Eley, Tennessee’s department heads should assume all reductions or eliminations will not be immediately refunded in the future budgets.

The state is currently anticipating a budget deficit for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. Budget officials hope to mitigate that deficit by using money saved through hiring and purchasing freezes and other methods.

Lawmakers are expected to draft a new budget for the upcoming fiscal year in the coming weeks.

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