Tuesday, July 8, 2014

7 - 8 - 14 Top reads from around Tennessee, brought to you by Crockett Policy Institute

Here are today's top reads from around Tennessee, brought to you by Crockett Policy Institute:

Nation's Governors To Convene For Summer Meeting In Nashville, Tennessee Governors from across the country will gather in Nashville, Tennessee, July 10-13, for the National Governors Association (NGA) Summer Meeting to discuss innovative work in states in several areas, including education, workforce, health care, veterans and jobs. Through NGA, governors share best practices, speak with a collective voice on national policy and develop innovative solutions that improve state government and support the principles of federalism.
“I am honored  to host the nation’s governors in Nashville, Tennessee,” said Host Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam. “NGA meetings bring us together to consider the important issues facing our states, hear new ideas and share best practices. I look forward to a great weekend of substantive conversation as well as the chance to showcase Tennessee and all we have to offer to my colleagues.-NGA

Tennessee Launches Effort to Prevent Hot Car Deaths
It's a new state-wide initiative to remind parents and caregivers to check their cars so that children are not left in the sweltering heat of a locked vehicle. Between 2005 and 2013, 13 Tennessee children died from heat-related causes, with nine of those deaths occurring in vehicles.
"A vehicle's internal temperature can rise quickly to a dangerous level, so it's important to never leave a child alone in a car," said Tennessee Department of Heath (TDH) Commissioner John J. Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. "Any of us can be distracted, so we need to take some simple memory steps like putting something we need when we leave our cars, such as a briefcase or purse, beside our children to prevent a distraction from becoming a tragedy."-WBIR


WGU Tennessee: 1 Year Old and Going Strong

One year ago Wednesday, Gov. Bill Haslam — with the support of the Tennessee General Assembly — took a bold and unprecedented step. As part of his Drive to 55 initiative, which aims to boost the percentage of Tennesseans holding a postsecondary credential from 32 to 55 percent by the year 2025, he launched WGU Tennessee, a nonprofit online university for working adults.  Drive to 55 remains an ambitious goal designed to prepare our state's workforce for the ultra-competitive job market of the future. A number of recent studies have shown that earning a college degree is more important now than ever before. An analysis by the Economic Policy Institute in May revealed that the pay gap between college graduates and non-graduates reached a record high in 2013. In the state of Tennessee alone, there are an estimated 940,000 adults with some college credit but no degree. To put that number in perspective, that's roughly 15 percent of the total state population. WGU Tennessee was created to close that gap, and we're well on our way.-The Tennessean**SUBSCRIPTION**


Women-owned Firms Growing in Tennessee

Tennessee has shown respectable growth in the number of women-owned firms since the late 1990s, according to a new report. The Volunteer State ranked 14th in the nation in the growth of women-owned firms between 1997 and 2013, according to American Express OPEN’s 2013 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, which also measured revenue and employment data to get an overall picture of conditions. The report showed that the number of women-owned firms grew by 65 percent in Tennessee between 1997 and 2013. The growth in firm revenues over that period was 71.5 percent, giving the state a solid revenue ranking of 25. Employment at women-owned firms declined by more than 17 percent, however, bringing down the state's marks overall. The combined "economic clout" of women-owned businesses in Tennessee was gauged to be 31st in the nation.-Biz Journals

Economic Development Growth Engine Looks to Make PILOTs More Effective
For years, the payment-in-lieu-of-taxes incentive used to recruit or retain jobs in Memphis and Shelby County has been a lightning rod for criticism, particularly from municipal labor unions who view the incentives as corporate welfare that erodes the tax base. That long-running criticism reached a boiling point two weeks ago as the City Council voted to slash some benefits for retirees. Many municipal union leaders said the tax breaks given to companies to locate or expand in Memphis and Shelby County were to blame for the government’s fiscal woes and the need to cut benefits.
Reid Dulberger, head of the Economic Development Growth Engine of Memphis and Shelby County, which administers the incentive program, has heard the criticisms of the PILOT program and earlier this year launched a wide-ranging review of the system that could lead to the most significant reforms in the program’s history.
I would describe it as a complete review of the PILOT program with the intent of making it more effective and cost efficient for the community,” Dulberger said.-Memphis Daily News

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