Governor Haslam reduced the Highway Fund budget by 13 percent, while he grew the State budget by 20 percent during his first six years in office.
Only after he made these reductions in the Highway Fund budget did he propose the gas tax and diesel tax increases included in the IMPROVE Act when he introduced it in January 2017.
From Governor Haslam’s first budget year of 2011-12 to the most recent 2016-17, Highway Fund allocations went from $867 million to $757 million, a reduction of 13 percent.
HIGHWAY FUND ALLOCATIONS
|Sheet||54 of 656||54 of 545||54 of 542||54 of 550||54 of 558||54 of 558|
During that same period, the state portion of the budget, excluding the unpredictable and heavily mandated federal funding, grew from $13.7 billion in 2011-12 to $16.5 billion in 2016-17, representing a 20 percent increase.
STATE BUDGET IN BILLIONS OF DOLLARS
|Sheet||41 of 656||41 of 545||41 of 542||41 of 550||41 of 558||41 of 558||+20%|
The data presented in the tables above is taken from the budget documents, linked to the year, found on-line within the Tennessee department of Finance & Administration website. The electronic PDF “Sheet” number (# of #) as well as the Page number (A-##) is provided for the reader’s information and convenience.
Where the data referenced states “Actual,” the information is taken from the budget document two years later, when the budget year is considered closed. Budget year 2016-17 is labeled “estimated,” consistent with the budget document’s reporting, since the budget year does not end until June 30, 2017.
Had Governor Haslam had conservatively kept Highway Fund allocations “flat” from 2011-12, the Highway Fund would have received total additional revenues of $538 million over the past six years.
Also noteworthy is that Governor Haslam, in his first budget year of 2011-12, reduced the Highway Fund from Governor Bredesen’s $890 million to $867 million.
If Governor Haslam had simply maintained Governor Bredesen’s $890 million funding level through 2016-17, the cumulative effective would have provided the Department of Transportation a total of $1.3 billion over the past six years, or an average of $215 million per year.
Effectively, Governor Haslam took the Highway Fund back to less than 2005-06 levels, when it was $788 million (Sheet 89 of 613) at that time under Governor Bredesen.
As previously reported by The Tennessee Star, Governor Haslam cut the state’s portion of the Highway Fund by an average of $56 million per year as compared to Governor Bredesen.
Governor Haslam’s IMPROVE Act, through the gas and diesel tax increase of 6 cents and 10 cents, respectively, and vehicle registration fee increases, will increase allocations to the Highway Fund by an estimated $384 million when fully implemented.
With the IMPROVE Act increases, Governor Haslam’s recommended state budget for 2017-18 (Sheet 41 of 558, Page A-9) is $17.9 billion, representing another $1.4 billion or 8 percent increase over 2016-17.