“Politicians often run for office saying they won’t raise taxes, but then quickly turn their backs on the taxpayer. The idea of the Pledge is simple enough: Make them put their no-new-taxes rhetoric in writing,” says Americans for Tax Reform.
The “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” commits an elected official or candidate for public office “to oppose [and vote against/veto] any efforts to increase taxes.”
According to the Americans for Tax Reform searchable data base, the Pledge has been signed by 30 active Tennessee State Representatives and State Senators, who are listed below.
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The IMPROVE Act includes five tax increases: a 7 cent per gallon gas tax increase, a 12 cent per gallon diesel tax increase, a $5 increase on passenger motor vehicle registrations, a 3 percent increase on rental cars and a local (county and city) option to impose surcharges, with voters’ approval, to fund public transit system projects.
Some of the Pledge signers have now become the biggest proponents, promoters or defenders of Governor Haslam’s IMPROVE Act.
Notably, Representative Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville) who is a co-sponsor of the amendment that captures the IMPROVE Act on HB 534, presented the bill before the House Transportation Committee, on which he sits, and has made several calls into 99.7 WTN’s the Morning Show with Ralph Bristol to advocate for the Act.
Rep. and Speaker Pro Tempore Curtis Johnson (R-Clarksville) broke a tie vote in the House Transportation Subcommittee that advanced the Act to the full House Transportation Committee, when it otherwise would have died as a result of the tie.
Additional House co-sponsors of HB 534 who have signed the Pledge are Representatives Glen Casada (R-Franklin), Charles Sargent (R-Franklin) and Steve McDaniel (R-Parkers Crossroads).
Another signer of the Pledge, Senator Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville), is the Senate co-sponsor of the IMPROVE Act companion bill, SB 1221.
Americans for Tax Reform, an organization that opposes all tax increases, was founded by Grover Norquist, a political advocate who is the founder and President of Americans for Tax Reform and the primary promoter of the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge.”
A February 17, 2017 headline on the Americans for Tax Reform top stories reads, “21 of 22 Indiana House Republicans Break Taxpayer Protection Pledge,” for increasing the state’s gas tax by 10 cents on the current 18 cents per gallon.
A link within the ATR story redirects to an Indiana Business Journal article, “House Republicans’ road plan includes gas-tax increase, user fees,” the details of which contained within sound remarkably similar to that of the IMPROVE Act, less the catchy acronym.
Another top story will be created for ATR, if the Tennessee General Assembly, with the assistance of any of the 30 Pledge signers, passes the five tax increases of the IMPROVE Act especially while the state is also in the enviable position of having a recurring $1 billion budget surplus.