Americans for Prosperity (AFP) Tennessee organized a Day of Action Saturday during which volunteers knocked on doors in Speaker Beth Harwell’s (R-Nashville) district asking constituents whether they were in favor of a gas tax increase, or wanted revenues from the $2 billion surplus to be used for funding of road projects.
Shawn Hatmaker, AFP Tennessee’s Field Director told The Tennessee Star that the overwhelming majority, 80 percent in fact, of respondents said they were opposed to a gas tax increase and wanted existing revenues to be used.
As her constituents, respondents were encouraged by AFP volunteers to contact Speaker Harwell to urge her to push forward with the plan she announced last week. The plan, which Speaker Harwell addressed briefly Thursday, that does not raise any taxes, but simply transfers sales tax revenues already collected on new and used vehicles from the General Fund to the Highway Fund.
Respondents as well as those not at home were left with a door hanger that provided an overview of Governor Haslam’s gas tax increase plan versus Speaker Harwell’s proposal that also included contact information for her office.
Ed Smith is a Heritage Action Sentinel as well as an AFP volunteer who lives in Speaker Harwell’s district. Mr. Smith attended the March 1 meeting of the House Transportation Subcommittee which had an overflowing crowd of AFP volunteers who traveled hours to protest the gas tax.
Mr. Smith, and others, were dismayed by the “shenanigans” that took place in that meeting to push the gas tax through, going against the wishes of so many citizens that were obviously against the gas tax. He continues to follow the developments closely, including the recent renaming of the bill.
“I have been disheartened,” said Mr. Smith, “by the recent actions of the House and the absence of leadership when it has come to breaking of rules and possible ethics violations, not to mention the tie-breaking maneuver.”
“But,” Mr. Smith continued, “I have been encouraged that my representative, who happens to be Speaker Harwell, appears to be stepping up with her proposal that will use existing taxes we’re already paying. Her proposal not only represents the sentiments of her constituents, but most citizens of Tennessee.”
Mr. Smith concluded, “This is the kind of leadership and regard for the hard working taxpayers of the state that Speaker Harwell will need to demonstrate if she does decide to run for Governor.”