Democrat Gubernatorial Candidate Karl Dean Calls for Higher Gas Taxes

Karl Deal

Democratic Party candidates in California are starting to distance themselves from a 12 cent a gallon gas tax increase imposed on drivers in their state and which is subject to a repeal effort this Fall.  At least 4 Democrat candidates are turning against their own party on the issue of increased gas taxes.

But in Tennessee, Democrat gubernatorial candidate Karl Dean is not only embracing last year’s IMPROVE Act fuel tax increase that raised gas and diesel taxes over $300 million a year, he wants to allow local governments to raise the fuel taxes even higher. Dean, a former two-term mayor of Nashville, says the state needs to expand on the IMPROVE Act, the 2017 law that increased gas taxes 6 cents a gallon and diesel taxes 10 cents per gallon. The tax increase was passed while Tennessee enjoyed about a $2 billion dollar SURPLUS. The phased in gas tax increase went up another one cent per gallon on July first.  The final cent in the six cent increase goes into effect July 1, 2018.

“Unlike my opponent,” Dean said in endorsing local option fuel tax increases, “I believe passing the IMPROVE Act was the right move for Tennessee. But we can’t rest; we can’t sit still. As Governor, I’ll work with legislators to make transportation infrastructure an even better tool to add jobs and increase access to high-quality education and health care.”

Davidson County became the first of the 12 counties authorized by the IMPROVE Act, introduced by Gov. Haslam, and passed by the Tennessee General Assembly and signed into law in 2017, to use the authority granted in the law to ask voters to increase local gas taxes . In October, Karl Dean’s successor, disgraced former Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, proposed a $9 billion transit plan, to be financed by a local gas tax subject to voter approval.

Both Karl Dean and former Nashville Mayor and Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen were in the audience that day cheering her on.

Voters in Davidson County, however, had other ideas. On May 1 they rejected the plan to increase local gas taxes to fund the transit boondoggle by a 2-to-1 vote.

Under Dean’s proposal, county officials in all 95 counties would be able to put such local gas tax increase proposals on the ballot for an up or down vote as many times as they want.

Dean’s Republican opponent, Bill Lee, neither embraced nor opposed the IMPROVE Act early in his campaign, saying the fuel tax increases contained in that bill were “water under the bridge.”

A spokesperson for the Lee campaign criticized Dean’s call for expanding the IMPROVE Act’s provision  allowing 12 local county governments to increase local gas taxes to all 95 counties in the state when contacted late Tuesday by The Tennessee Star.

“Bill Lee has said throughout the campaign that he is against raising taxes,” the spokesperson said.

“Over the course of the campaign, he hosted over 100 town hall meetings, engaging with thousands of voters face to face. They were looking for ideas on improving schools, creating jobs, and supporting public safety. What is clear from those meetings, Tennesseans don’t want a tax increase,” the spokesperson added.

State Rep. Barry “Boss” Doss (R-Leoma), the House Transportation Chairman who jammed through the fuel tax increase in violation of House rules, was defeated in his reelection bid in the August primary by Clay Doggett.  Another Republican incumbent who supported the gas tax increase, State Rep. Tim Wirgau (R-Buchanan), was also defeated in his primary against Bruce Griffey.  The gas tax issue was a key factor in Wirgau’s defeat.






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14 Thoughts to “Democrat Gubernatorial Candidate Karl Dean Calls for Higher Gas Taxes”

  1. Megan Barry

    I’m supporting Karl Dean and higher taxes if anyone cares.

  2. Shirley H Greer

    It’s time to push back. This is our country and our voices need to be heard–Loudly! We need to be sure that Chuck Schumer,” the Do Nothing Democrat”, will not succeed in getting his HAND_PICKED Candidate elected.

  3. Traditional Thinker

    Welcome to the liberal world. Rob from the working and give to the dnc

  4. Horatio Bunce

    But with the current Republican super-duper majority, surely a new gas tax wouldn’t be passed…uhhh….again that is.

    Why is it the big city tax-and-spenders that like their Common Core mandatory online assessments and their college-and-career ready textbooks that require additional $150 “online access” accounts to get to the course materials AND gov’t sponsored gig-city fiber Internet monopolies still think you need to ride a train to access education?

  5. Phillip N Lassiter

    Did any Republicans even fight the gas tax in TN? The house majority leader (Republican) was prime proponent of the tax.

  6. Wolf Woman

    The socialist dems like Karl “Marx” Dean don’t seem to care about the fact that more and more workers have to live miles away from their jobs because they can’t afford to live in our increasingly expensive cities. And Dean is so far removed from the world of small town and rural Tennessee that he probably thinks that our accent means we’re stupid and hicks.

    The other side of the equation is what is he going to spend these tax increases on? Welfare for illegal immigrants and refugees who hate our values (but will become new dem voters)? It’s the democrat way now it seems.

  7. John Bumpus

    You probably will not find a paper trail anywhere to verify what I will say here. But I think that it just stands to reason that whatever (more or less) Dean is for, Bredesen supports, and vice versa. They are two ‘peas in a pod.’ So, voters of Tennessee, be careful who/what you vote for, because what you see is what you will get.

  8. Lee

    Unbelievable – if this doesn’t tank him we are a hopeless bunch. Good grief! Wake up TN.

  9. Mary

    How high, Dean? High enough so hard working people can’t afford to drive? WTF is wrong with you? Why don’t you get off your high horse and actually VISIT these ‘forgotten’ towns you speak of. God help us if you actually get elected.

    1. Lee Williams

      Karl is the only qualified candidate, I’m against any tax increase. We just don’t need another haslem.

      1. Lamar

        You are against tax increase . Karl is for tax increase. You would still vote for Karl. Does that make sense? You would vote against yourself?

    2. Ronnie

      We are fortunate to have Such a qualified candidate

  10. ron stone

    But, it’s for the children!

  11. Rick

    Typical Democrat raise taxes, VOTE REPUBLICAN.
    Send Dean and Bredesen back to where they came from!