At the final stop before the full House makes its first of three votes on Governor Haslam’s 2017-18 $37 billion state budget, the Finance, Ways & Means Committee finalized the bills required to move the budget on, including HB 514, which Chairman Charles Sargent (R-Franklin) referred to as the “indexing bill” or Copeland Cap.
The Copeland Cap is the 1978 amendment to Article II, Section 24 of the Tennessee constitution that states, “In no year shall the rate of growth of appropriations from state tax revenues exceed the estimated rate of growth of the state’s economy as determined by law.”
The amendment was named for its author, former state Representative David Copeland of Ooltewah.
As reported by The Tennessee Star, with the growth of state revenues, lawmakers were expected to have to break the Copeland Cap.
That was confirmed Wednesday, when Chairman Sargent presented the bill to the committee, saying, “Revenues have grown and collections in the 16 budget that was not recognized in 16. That money has been placed over into the 17-18 budget. So we have to recognized that we went over. We went over by 2.85 over and above the Copeland Cap.”
No further details were provided as to the dollar value of the overage or the per capita income levels that the Copeland Cap is based on.
The meeting was presided over by subcommittee chairman Rep. Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga), so that Sargent could present the bills. McCormick asked if there were any comments or questions. Seeing none, a voice vote was taken and the bill was passed on to the Calendar & Rules Committee to be scheduled along with all other bills for a House floor vote Thursday.