State Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris has accused House Speaker Beth Harwell of working behind the scenes on a plan to avoid a gas tax increase, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports.
“There’s a fine line between indecision and deception,” Norris (R-Collierville) said Thursday, who did not elaborate on his comment.
On Wednesday, Rep. David Hawk (R-Greeneville) told the Budget Subcommittee that he, Harwell and others were working on alternative funding plan for Gov. Haslam’s IMPROVE Act. The amended legislation includes a gas tax hike of six cents and a 10-cent increase on diesel over the next three years, while cutting three taxes in the general fund, including the sales tax on groceries.
The Tennessee Star reported Thursday that Harwell (R-Nashville) and others want to use revenues from the sales tax on new and used vehicles toward funding road projects. Harwell said details of the plan are still being finalized.
Hawk’s announcement caught Republican Senate Speaker Randy McNally, Budget Subcommittee Chairman Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga) Gov. Haslam and others by surprise, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
On Wednesday, State Rep. Barry Doss (R-Leoma), chairman of the House Transportation Committee and co-sponsor of the gas tax increase proposal, presented a lengthy argument to the House Finance Subcommittee explaining why the name of the IMPROVE ACT should be changed to “The Tax Cut Act of 2017.”
IMPROVE Act “Tax Cut Act of 2017” is set to go before the Senate Finance Committee next week.
Though Doss’ proposal was met with peals of laughter, the subcommittee approved the name change, and forwarded it to the full House Finance Ways and Means Committee for consideration on Monday.