Thousands of state employees returned to work Friday, July 5, after a three-day partial government shutdown. The shutdown limited state government to prisons, public safety, health care and other "essential" services.
Gov. Don Sundquist furloughed about 22,000 "nonessential" state workers July 1 after lawmakers failed to come up with a budget for the start of the new fiscal year that began last Monday. Included in the partial shutdown were offices of the Tennessee International Registration Plan and state license bureau. In addition, state road projects were put on hold, rest areas closed and daily highway debris cleanup halted.
The General Assembly broke the budget impasse Wednesday with a compromise budget that raised the state sales tax rate from 6 to 7 percent on everything except groceries and increased levies on businesses, alcohol and tobacco products.