As the Haslam IMPROVE Act plan to increase fuel taxes returns to the Transportation Subcommittee on Wednesday March 1, Americans for Prosperity and other activists plan to “turn up the heat” by gathering at Legislative Plaza to express opposition to the proposed tax increases.
The Transportation Subcommittee, Chaired by Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver (R-Lancaster), is scheduled to meet at noon.
Andy Ogles, Tennessee Director of Americans for Prosperity, said that activists will be coming from across the state to express opposition to the proposed tax increases. “Once taxpayers realize that the huge tax increases proposed by the Governor are coming when we have a TWO BILLION DOLLAR SURPLUS their reaction to the plan becomes almost a unanimous ‘NO’ and they can’t understand why their elected officials are even entertaining the idea,” Ogles noted. “The only way the Haslam Plan passes is if their supporters successfully hide the truth about what the plan actually means to the wallets of working men and women in Tennessee. To stop it, we simply need to get the truth out and encourage taxpayers to get engaged in this fight.”
Ogles also expressed concern about the glaring absence of conservative leadership in the Legislature on this issue. “Opposing higher taxes, especially when we have had several years of billions of dollars of surplus, should be a principled and easy position for conservatives to take. The fact that Speaker Harwell, Majority Leader Casada, and other Republican leaders in the House and Senate who have long claimed to be “conservative” are failing to clearly, loudly and emphatically denounce the Haslam Plan is beyond disappointing.”
Ben Cunningham, founder of the Nashville Tea Party and a key leader in the defeat of the attempts to impose an income tax on Tennesseans during Governor Don Sundquist’s second term described the need for citizen activism on Wednesday as a “critical and pivotal moment in beating back another attack on our purses by entrenched tax and spend politicians.”
“Once again,” Cunningham said, “Tennessee taxpayers will have to depend on the ‘horn honkers’ to stop politicians who can always find more ways to spend our money on their pet projects.
“Just as citizens circled and honked 15 years ago to stop the income tax, we need to turn out Wednesday and spend a lunch hour reminding our elected officials that they work for US rather than the Governor and his cronies. It’s deja vu all over again!”
“It is really frustrating how quickly those so-called conservatives who run for the legislature to represent our values run to the trough and turn their loyalties to the lobbyists as soon as they get to Nashville,” exclaimed Dale Walker, Chairman of the Tennessee Pastor’s Network. “It is hard to explain how Republicans are different from Democrats when they all seem to rush to raise taxes as soon as they get elected.
“No wonder voters find it hard to tell the difference. None of these legislators were talking about raising taxes during the last election, were they?”
While Tennessee’s mainstream media frame Gov. Haslam’s titanic Gas Tax hike proposal as a done-deal, behind the capital door, it’s a whole different story.
“Contrary to some reports in the media and by supporters of the Haslam fuel tax increase, there is growing momentum for the Hawk Plan that increases spending on roads and bridges by about $300 million a year without raising taxes,” Senator Mark Green (R- Clarksville) pointed out.
“It is increasingly clear that we don’t have to raise taxes in order to improve our roads, and that is the path more and more legislators who are genuinely interested in protecting taxpayers want to pursue,” Green concluded.
The ‘Tank the Tax’ rally event runs from 8:00am to 3:00pm. Transportation from East Tennessee is available. Visit the AFP-TN Facebook event page for all the details.