Some contrasting commentary on passage of gas tax bill

From Tea Party leader Judson Phillips, writing in Tennessee Star (excerpt):

The Tennessee Republican Party died on April 19, 2017. Ten years after the GOP became the majority party in Tennessee, led by a liberal governor, the party committed political suicide.

By voting for the largest tax increase in the history of the state of Tennessee, the Republicans in the state legislature knifed their base in the back and repudiated everything they claim to stand for. Tennessee Republicans routinely make campaign speeches talking about how conservative they are and how they believe in limited government.

Today, Tennessee’s conservative base knows this is a lie… Unfortunately, the Tennessee Republicans supermajority in the legislature chose to listen to a lame duck, feckless crap weasel governor instead of the people who put them in office.

From Gov. Bill Haslam

“The IMPROVE Act is the largest tax cut in Tennessee history, makes us more competitive as we’re recruiting manufacturing jobs and keeps our transportation network safe, reliable and debt-free for the next generation of Tennesseans. While there remains action to be taken on this legislation, I want to thank both chambers for their votes today on the IMPROVE Act, particularly Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) and Reps. Barry Doss (R-Leoma) and Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville) for their work carrying the legislation.”

From Lt. Gov. Randy McNally

“The plans passed by the House and Senate (Wednesday) represent a clear and undisputed tax cut for the people of Tennessee — the largest such tax cut in Tennessee history. It is a remarkable achievement. Both plans protect our user fee, ensure our continued fiscal stability and maintain of our Triple-A bond rating. It is a victory on all fronts — for taxpayers, for economic development and for the continued mobility and safety of our citizens. Good roads and solid infrastructure lead to economic expansion and job growth. Tax cuts result in more money in the pockets of our citizens and more entrepreneurism in our state. I am hopeful that the House can add property tax relief for veterans and the elderly to the bill so the General Assembly can officially send the governor the largest tax cut in Tennessee history for his signature.”

From Susie Alcorn, executive director of the Tennessee Infrastructure Alliance:

We applaud the passage of Gov. Bill Haslam’s IMPROVE Act by the Tennessee House and Senate today. This legislation is a significant step toward putting into place a reliable and sustainable transportation infrastructure funding program for Tennessee.

 Not only does the IMPROVE Act provide for better roads and safe bridges, it gives Tennessee residents the largest tax cut in the history of the state, including a 20 percent reduction in the sales tax on food.

The Transportation Coalition of Tennessee and all its members are grateful to Gov. Haslam and the House and Senate sponsors for their leadership.

Note: Mr. Phillips is mistaken on the IMPROVE act incorporating the biggest tax increase in Tennessee history. That still remains the $1 billion (or so) increase in revenue generated by a tax package enacted in 2002 while Don Sundquist was governor — roughly three times as much revenue than generated by the new fuel tax increases (and approved with broad GOP support as an option to a state income tax). It included an increase in the general state sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent, an increase in the corporate excise tax to 6.5 percent, increases in alcoholic beverage taxes and some other stuff.

Earlier post on the bill’s passage has been updated to include roll call vote and such HERE. Folks receiving this blog’s headlines via email may not have noticed the update.

3 Responses to Some contrasting commentary on passage of gas tax bill

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    Michael Lottman says:

    The Tennessee Star reaction is simply irrational as well as in accurate. There is $10 billion worth or road and bridge work out there that has to be attended to, and it’s not going to be done for free. And there is probably more public transit development that will have to be done after that if we are to avoid total gridlock in a few years–not that we don’t have it in many places already. For the good of the state and the people who live and work here, these things have to be done and they have to be paid for. The only thing wrong with this bill is that it gives back about as much money as it raises, which we cannot continue to do, and it really is not enough money for even an adequate start on the work that has to be done. So we all need to stop thinking we can have our cake and eat it too.

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    Jim Horner says:

    Mr. Lottman, why not use the surplus before putting it on the backs of us as a source of income. You people think we can not add and subtract. You, the Gov, Norris, McNally, Doss, Dunn, etc will pay for your lies someday. You have NO SHAME!

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    J Chris Henry says:

    Leave it to the out-of-touch and suck-up-to-donors Tennessee GOP to slap every hard-working Tennessean struggling to survive right in the wallet each time they must buy fuel. Yet again the TnGA have refused the most common sense actions to fund the state’s roads- pass an Open Container Law. Responsible state legislators have attempted for years to repatriate 12.1cents/gal of the Federal Gas Tax that Tennesseans have already paid simply by bringing our state into compliance with Federal Laws since 1998. Currently TN leaves $1.5 Million ‘on the table’ every year that could be spent here in our state to fix our roads and bridges. TN lawmakers have chosen to burden all 6.6 million TN citizens in order to ingratiate themselves to the 100,000 who attend University of Tennessee games.

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