Constituents of State Rep. Rick Tillis (R-Lewisburg) have a message for him after he switched from a “no” vote on Gov. Haslam’s gas tax increasing IMPROVE Act to a “yes” vote.
A red and white banner questioning his truthfulness was prominently displayed just below a large billboard by the side of a major road in Lewisburg promoting his jewelry business in town.
Last week, Tillis was one of the 37 Republican members of the Tennessee House of Representatives who voted in favor of Gov. Haslam’s IMPROVE Act, which will increase the gas tax by 6 cents per gallon (28 percent) and the diesel tax by 10 cents per gallon (55 percent). The bill passed the House 60-37 and subsequently passed in the Senate. On Monday, the House approved the Senate version of the bill, and it is set to become law after Gov. Haslam signs it.
Tillis attempted to explain his vote switch on Monday.
“The first thing to address is why I voted for it after I had said publicly that I could not,” Tillis wrote in a Facebook post on Monday.
“The bill changed,” Tillis claimed.
“And as far as the survey that is here on Facebook and the group that is calling me a liar. That survey was filled out a year ago and changing your position on an issue once the details have changed does not make anyone a liar, Tillis added.
“When it was sent to the State Senate they made some changes to the Improve Act that made it a better bill,” Tillis said.
Tillis then identified those three improvements he said were made in the State Senate:
(1) The gas tax increase was lowered from 7 cents to 6 cents per gallon and the diesel tax increase was lowered from 12 cents to 10 cents per gallon.
(2) The increase was phased in over three years.
(3) The sales tax reduction on food was increased from a quarter percent to a full percent.
“The changes were to reduce the gas tax increase from seven to six cents per gallon and the diesel was reduced from twelve cents to ten cents. Another part of this was phasing the increase in over three years,” Tillis stated.
“Next was the reduction in the taxes on food,” he said.
“The original proposal was to reduce the food tax a quarter percent, the Senate made a full one percent reduction. The offset of the these two taxes made the Improve Act at this point a net tax savings in real dollars and cents for the citizens of Tennessee which made the bill a lot more acceptable in my opinion,” Tillis noted.
You can read the rest of his statement on Facebook here: