Monday, February 24, 2014

Haslam Talks Minimum Wage, Organized Labor, and Medicaid on PBS

Posted By on Mon, Feb 24, 2014 at 2:46 PM

Gov. Bill Haslam appeared on PBS Newshour along with Illinois' Democrat Gov. Pat Quinn (who said the governor's "interference" in the UAW vote was "just plain wrong") . A few choice quotes from Haslam:

On minimum wage:

"Well, if you look, the Congressional Budget Office come out and said, if you do that, you’re going to lose 500,000 jobs. So, you always have to look at the consequences of an action like that.

Will this make a dramatic difference in the income inequality issue that we’re talking about? I think it will make some, but I think there’s a lot of other issues that will make more difference. And I think the president’s focus on education, I think long term, will make more difference. I think that’s what you’re seeing out of a lot governors is saying, hey, what we really need to do address income equality is address work force preparation."

On the UAW vote in Chattanooga:

"Obviously, what is — the state is an interested player.

The other thing is Volkswagen came to us. They were looking at expanding and building an SUV line. They said two things. We need you to shrink the cost gap on what it costs to build a car. And number two, we want to attract a network of suppliers closer. Neither — and then neither of those will be easier if the UAW comes.

Suppliers everywhere had said, we’re interested in coming, but if UAW it comes, flat out we are going to be a lot less interested."

[Note: The UAW filed an appeal last week, citing political interference in the vote.]

On Medicaid:

"We’re trying to work a better way.

We think more people being covered is the right idea, but we think expanding a system that was designed years ago and which I don’t think anybody would argue works the right way is the right approach to do it. Tennessee has a history of managed care. We were one of the very first states with a program called TennCare 20-plus years ago to institute managed care.

My predecessor, Governor Bredesen, who is a Democrat, saw that it was getting to be too big of a piece of the budget. It was taking up about 35 percent of our overall budget. Had to cut the rolls. And so before we move those — we expand that back, we want to make certain we have a system that is focused on better outcomes for everyone."

[Note: State Democrats have filed Freedom of Information Act requests seeking details about what Haslam might mean by "a better way.'

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