House approves gas tax bill 60-37; Senate approves 25-6

The House approved Gov. Bill Haslam’s tax package, including increases in gas and diesel fuel taxes, on a 60-37 vote Wednesday after more than four hours of debate.

The Senate followed shortly afterwards — with considerably less debate – on a 25-6 vote.

There are some minor differences on the bill, one clarifying effective dates on parts of the tax package, that must be resolved before it goes to the governor. But should occur quickly, clearing the way for work on the state budget next week.

In the House, there were 80 amendments to deal with. The latest governor-approved version of HB534 raises the gas tax by six cents per gallon and the diesel fuel tax by ten cents per gallon – phased in over a three-year period. That’s coupled with a cut in corporate taxes for manufacturers, a reduction on the state sales tax on groceries and a cut in the Hall income tax on investment income.

Rep. Barry Doss, R-Leoma, acted as sponsor on the House floor, successfully tabling a long list of hostile amendments while others were ultimately withdrawn. A key vote came on a proposal by Rep. David Hawk, R-Rogersville, to rewrite the governor’s bill to exclude both the tax increases and the tax cuts. The Hawk amendment would instead have diverted sales tax revenue from purchase of vehicles to the state’s highway fund.

Hawk’s amendment failed with 38 representatives supporting it, 58 opposed.

House Speaker Beth Harwell, eyeing a run for governor,  voted against the Haslam proposal when it first came under as an amendment, then voted for Hawk alternative plan. But she then voted yes on the final vote on the bill, as amended.

Excerpt from the AP’s report:

“While this was not the plan I preferred — I definitely preferred the other plan — at the end of the day infrastructure is a limited role of government and we need to perform it well,” Harwell told reporters after the vote.

The speaker said she doesn’t anticipate revived efforts to change the funding mechanism if the bill ends up in a conference committee to iron out differences.

…The House vote on the bill illustrated how closely divided the Republican supermajority is on the measure, with 37 members voting for and 35 voting against. Democrats voted 23-2 in favor of the amendment.

House roll call vote (cut and pasted from legislative website – which also has votes on amendments, parliamentary moves and such HERE if you click on ‘votes’ at the top right of the page.).





Representatives voting aye were: Akbari, Alexander, Beck, Brooks H., Brooks K., Camper, Carr, Carter, Clemmons, Coley, Cooper, Curcio, Daniel, DeBerry, Doss, Dunn, Eldridge, Farmer, Favors, Fitzhugh, Forgety, Gilmore, Gravitt, Halford, Hazlewood, Hicks, Holsclaw, Howell, Jernigan, Johnson, Jones, Keisling, Love, Lynn, Marsh, McCormick, McDaniel, Miller, Mitchell, Parkinson, Pitts, Powell, Ragan, Ramsey, Sanderson, Sargent, Shaw, Smith, Staples, Stewart, Swann, Thompson, Tillis, Towns, Travis, Turner, White M., Whitson, Wirgau, Madam Speaker Harwell — 60.

Representatives voting no were: Butt, Byrd, Calfee, Crawford, Faison, Gant, Goins, Hardaway, Hawk, Hill M., Hill T., Holt, Hulsey, Kane, Kumar, Lamberth, Littleton, Lollar, Matheny, Matlock, Moody, Pody, Powers, Reedy, Rogers, Rudd, Sexton C., Sexton J., Sherrell, Sparks, Terry, Van Huss, Weaver, White D., Williams, Windle, Zachary — 37.

Senate roll call vote:





Senators voting aye were: Bailey, Bell, Briggs, Crowe, Dickerson, Gardenhire, Haile, Harper, Harris, Jackson, Johnson, Kelsey, Ketron, Kyle, Lundberg, Massey, Norris, Overbey, Stevens, Tate, Tracy, Watson, Yager, Yarbro, Mr. Speaker McNally — 25.

Senators voting no were: Beavers, Bowling, Gresham, Hensley, Niceley, Roberts — 6.

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