Tennessee Farm Bureau Supports Haslam’s Gas Tax Because They Don’t Have to Pay It

Tennessee Star


Since January 2008, Tennessee farmers have benefitted from expanded agricultural tax exemptions, including sales and use taxes on “gasoline or diesel fuel used for ‘agricultural purposes’ as defined in Tenn. Code Ann. Section 67-6-102.”

Farmers in Tennessee who own or lease “agricultural land from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold during the year, including payments from government sources,” are exempt from paying tax on “off road” use of gasoline and diesel fuels.

A full year before Governor Haslam released his “IMPROVE Act” that raises the tax on gas and diesel fuel, Tennessee Farm Bureau’s (TFB) president Jeff Aiken said:

“We could support a fiscally responsible state fuel tax increase, if and only if the money that was taken out of the funds under the Bredesen administration were first returned to the fund, and as long as the monies collected would go toward building and maintenance of roads and bridges in the state and nothing else.”

Despite Haslam explicitly admitting that that up to $70 million of the gas tax can be spent on mass transit by cities and counties, the TFB has not withdrawn their support for the proposed fuel tax increases. In fact, last month Aiken said that the TFB “commends” the Governor for raising the tax revenue that will provide “safe roads and safe bridges.”

In 2015, the TFB released a statement opposing the setting of rural road weight limits, arguing that both lack of uniform weight limits on county roads across the state and lowered weight limits negatively impact transporting farmers’ products. Instead, the TFB wants a “clear right of farm-to-market use of rural roads.”

Tennessee law authorizes county officials to decrease the maximum weights allowed on county roads within their jurisdiction to avoid damaging roads that experience heavy travel with loads reaching the maximum weights set by the state’s Department of Transportation. Current state law permits county officials to restrict weight restrictions on county roads if in light of “weakness of structure in either the surface of the road or of bridges, the maximum loads provided by law, injure or damage such roads or bridges.”

Counties are fiscally responsible for maintaining their roads and bridges and prior to last year when the county contribution for road projects was reduced from 20% to 2% before state funds were triggered, there was greater concern about decreased state road funds flowing to counties.

Should the Governor’s fuel tax hikes become law, families in rural Tennessee with the least ability to afford a cost of living increase of any kind are exactly the people who will pay the price. At the same time, the members of organizations like the Tennessee Farm Bureau reap the benefits of tax exemptions.



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4 Thoughts to “Tennessee Farm Bureau Supports Haslam’s Gas Tax Because They Don’t Have to Pay It”

  1. […] Rhedona’s watchful eye and leadership the Tennessee Farm Bureau proudly endorsed Haslam’s gas tax increase and in-state tuition for illegal alien students in Tennessee, positions that the overwhelming […]

  2. Ruth Wilson

    Here is the Telephone # of the FARM BUREAU – INSURANCE COMPANY – 931-388-7872. You all might want to CANCEL your insurance and tell them what you think about their “ENDORCEMENTS” 1. IN-STATE Tuition for Illegal Alien Children 2. Their stand on the Wicked Gas Tax. Be sure to read this article before you place your call. You’ll have some “talking points” as they say, because this “Farm Bureau Bunch” have some cleverly devised “talk” to diffuse your good arguments. I told them they need to listen to a Good Farmer like Horatio Bunce who told Rep. Davy Crockett, one time, “NO CHARITY FROM THE PUBLIC PURSE” because that was a violation of The Constitution. Good Rep. Crockett was “CORRECTED” by the Good Farmer Bunce. It is time to DO SOMETHING, you have “their number”.
    For God & Country

  3. Susan E Gingrich

    Just one visit to Nashville demonstrated to me that special interests are alive and well at the TN state capital. The state of PA has a deficit and a legitimate tax and spend liberal governor. The new PA House republican budget & budget policies state emphatically no tax increases period. According to the Commonwealth Foundation, in developing their budget they embraced the idea of redesigning government to secure financial stability for working people. Included are spending restraints, options to raise new revenue, and reducing corporate welfare. They are thinking outside the box, while too many in our legislature are using the same old, tired box, pitting one group against another, ignoring their own rules and procedures, and disregarding the will or best interest of taxpayers. Lucky for them not a lot of TN voters are paying attention to the proposed increase, but I bet these same uninformed voters are noticing and unhappy with the recent rise in the cost of gasoline at the pump.

    1. Blake A Rymer

      Are you kidding??? wtf are you talking about rise in the cost at the pump? don’t you remember $4.25 a gallon couple years back?