- Associated Press - Monday, December 22, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Momentum is mounting for a possible proposal to raise the state’s gas tax for the first time in 25 years.

Gov. Bill Haslam told The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/1x0oXvu) that he thinks a legislative proposal on the issue is close, and could be introduced in the next General Assembly, which convenes in January.

“At some point and time soon, either this year or next year, I think there will be a bill about gas tax,” he told The Tennessean editorial board.

“It’s incumbent upon us as the administration to show here’s what we would do with that money if you increased the fuel tax, and then it’s also I think important for all of us not to just increase it so that … three years from now we’re back in the same position.”

The push comes as a group representing 40 mayors in Middle Tennessee sent a letter urging Haslam and state lawmakers to find new sources of revenue to pay for transportation needs. Chambers of commerce also are pushing the idea of increasing the gas tax.

In addition, the Tennessee Farm Bureau no longer lists opposition to a gas tax increase as among its legislative priorities.

Still, the newspaper reports any proposal to increase the tax would face hurdles and lacks support from some state Democrats.

Currently, residents pay a total of 39.8 cents tax on each gallon of gas purchased - 21.4 cents is state tax and 18.4 cents is federal tax.

Haslam isn’t pushing for an increase, but says the issue must be addressed.

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, has said he might support an increase as part of a larger comprehensive measure.

House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, hasn’t publicly taken a position.

“Between cars that are more efficient, and uncertainty coming from Washington with regards to future funding, I understand the need to look ahead,” she said in a statement. “I don’t know what the plan would look like or when it will be pursued, but the role of the General Assembly will be to give that plan a fair hearing, along with a thorough discussion and debate.”

___

Information from: The Tennessean, http://www.tennessean.com

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide