On Wednesday State Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) wasted no time in claiming the conservative mantle as she considers a run for the Republican nomination for Governor in 2018.
“Yesterday Senate and House committees advanced the Governor’s proposed tax increases on gasoline and diesel fuel towards passage. I remain adamantly opposed to ANY tax increase on working families in Tennessee, particularly when we have a huge and growing budget surplus that provides us plenty of resources to build and maintain roads and bridges,” Beavers tells The Tennessee Star.
“As I explore the possibility of running for Governor, I can assure Tennessee taxpayers that my first priority as Governor would be to propose a budget that would include the complete repeal of this unnecessary and burdensome fuel tax if it does indeed pass,” Beavers promised.
“I am the ONLY prospective candidate on either side of the aisle speaking out against this massive tax increase — which may help explain what is “fueling” so much interest in my potential candidacy across the state,”
Beavers also blasted the credibility of the Fiscal Note quickly issued on March 16, three days after an amended version of Gov. Haslam’s gas tax increase proposal passed the Senate Transportation Commitee in a 7 to 1 vote.
Beavers was the sole no vote against the gas tax increase in that committee hearing.
“It is ridiculous that anyone is taking the Fiscal Review Committee fiscal note on this tax increase scheme seriously,” Beavers said.
“It is not revenue neutral, and hiding behind the ‘human shields’ of our veterans, disabled and elderly only makes it worse,” she added.
“Phony fiscal notes have long been used by the leadership to kill bills they don’t like and advance those they prefer. In fact, the Fiscal Review Committee has scored the exact same bill with different positive or negative fiscal notes in the based on the name of the sponsor rather than the content and impact of the bill,” the potential conservative GOP gubernatorial candidate said.
“The recent amendments made by the Senate, and supported by Gov. Haslam, have improved the bill to the extent that the bill is now a net tax decrease, and thus not a violation of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge…ATR scores the amended version of SB 1221 / HB 534 as a net tax cut and therefore Taxpayer Protection Pledge compliant,” Washington insider Grover Norquist, founder of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) wrote in a memorandum to Tennessee State Legislators on Monday.
When pressed by The Star,a representative of ATR said, “We base our scoring on the state’s official fiscal note for the amended version of the bill, which is available on the state senate website: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/110/Fiscal/FM0576.pdf.”
However, ATR failed to provide detailed documentation of that scoring, which The Star had requested to see.