Gov. Bill Haslam threw a soft ball over the middle of the plate to State Senator Mae Beavers (R- Mt. Juliet) about her campaign pledge to repeal the gas tax, and the recently announced GOP Gubernatorial candidate knocked it out of the park.
Appearing in Nashville at one of the three ceremonial signings for the IMPROVE ACT passed by the Tennessee General Assembly this session that he signed in May, Haslam asked what he thought of Beavers’ campaign pledge to repeal the 6 cents per gallon gas tax increase and 10 cents per gallon diesel tax increase included in the new law.
“If you want to repeal that, then how are you going to pay for road improvements? And are you going to take the tax cuts that we’ve made off the table, too?” Haslam asked.
“That’s an easy question to answer,” Beavers told The Tennessee Star Monday afternoon.
“If the Governor and legislative leadership had allowed for a full and fair discussion of road funding alternatives rather than cutting back room deals and strong arming the gas tax increase down taxpayers throats then Governor Haslam might be aware of the other alternatives available,” Beavers noted.
“We can repeal the tax increase and then fund our road construction by ending the diversion of roads funds to non-road funding; using the portion of the surplus that comes from sales tax for automobile related items to fund the road projects; and finally make sure we are spending on road projects that are actual priorities rather than political favors,” Beavers said.
“With a $2 BILLION SURPLUS the last year, and $148 million just last month, only politicians who are addicted to tax increases can’t see any other options,” she added.
At the Nashville event, Haslam was flanked by Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, a Democrat, State Senator Jeff Yarbro (D-Nashville), and Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer.
Haslam also held ceremonial signings on Monday in Hamilton County in East Tennessee and Union City in West Tennessee.