Thirty Tennessee General Assembly Members Signed The ‘Taxpayer Protection Pledge,’ But Some Are Breaking It With The IMPROVE Act

“Politicians often run for office saying they won’t raise taxes, but then quickly turn their backs on the taxpayer. The idea of the Pledge is simple enough:  Make them put their no-new-taxes rhetoric in writing,” says Americans for Tax Reform.

The “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” commits an elected official or candidate for public office “to oppose [and vote against/veto] any efforts to increase taxes.” 

According to the Americans for Tax Reform searchable data base, the Pledge has been signed by 30 active Tennessee State Representatives and State Senators, who are listed below. 

State Representatives State Senators
District First Last District First Last
24 Kevin Brooks 17 Mae Beavers
19 Harry Brooks 16 Janice Bowling
71 David Byrd 22 Mark Green
63 Glen Casada 26 Dolores Gresham
16 Bill Dunn 27 Ed Jackson
11 Jeremy Faison 23 Jack Johnson
56 Beth Harwell 13 Bill Ketron
7 Matthew Hill 5 Randy McNally
22 Dan Howell 1 Steve Southerland
68 Curtis Johnson 24 John Stevens
89 Roger Kane 14 Jim Tracy
38 Kelly Keisling
57 Susan Lynn
72 Steve McDaniel
36 Dennis Powers
45 Courtney Rogers
61 Charles Sargent
49 Mike Sparks
40 Terri Lynn Weaver

The IMPROVE Act includes five tax increases:  a 7 cent per gallon gas tax increase, a 12 cent per gallon diesel tax increase, a $5 increase on passenger motor vehicle registrations, a 3 percent increase on rental cars and a local (county and city) option to impose surcharges, with voters’ approval, to fund public transit system projects.

Some of the Pledge signers have now become the biggest proponents, promoters or defenders of Governor Haslam’s IMPROVE Act.

Notably, Representative Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville) who is a co-sponsor of the amendment that captures the IMPROVE Act on HB 534, presented the bill before the House Transportation Committee, on which he sits, and has made several calls into 99.7 WTN’s the Morning Show with Ralph Bristol to advocate for the Act.

Rep. and Speaker Pro Tempore Curtis Johnson (R-Clarksville) broke a tie vote in the House Transportation Subcommittee that advanced the Act to the full House Transportation Committee, when it otherwise would have died as a result of the tie.

Additional House co-sponsors of HB 534 who have signed the Pledge are Representatives Glen Casada (R-Franklin), Charles Sargent (R-Franklin) and Steve McDaniel (R-Parkers Crossroads). 

Another signer of the Pledge, Senator Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville), is the Senate co-sponsor of the IMPROVE Act companion bill, SB 1221.

Americans for Tax Reform, an organization that opposes all tax increases, was founded by Grover Norquist, a political advocate who is the founder and President of Americans for Tax Reform and the primary promoter of the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge.” 

A February 17, 2017 headline on the Americans for Tax Reform top stories reads, “21 of 22 Indiana House Republicans Break Taxpayer Protection Pledge,” for increasing the state’s gas tax by 10 cents on the current 18 cents per gallon. 

A link within the ATR story redirects to an Indiana Business Journal article, “House Republicans’ road plan includes gas-tax increase, user fees,” the details of which contained within sound remarkably similar to that of the IMPROVE Act, less the catchy acronym.

Another top story will be created for ATR, if the Tennessee General Assembly, with the assistance of any of the 30 Pledge signers, passes the five tax increases of the IMPROVE Act especially while the state is also in the enviable position of having a recurring $1 billion budget surplus.

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4 Thoughts to “Thirty Tennessee General Assembly Members Signed The ‘Taxpayer Protection Pledge,’ But Some Are Breaking It With The IMPROVE Act”

  1. […] the 2017 session of the Tennessee General Assembly, Tracy was a strong supporter of Governor Haslam’s gas tax increase proposal, which was vigorously opposed by grassroots conservatives throughout the […]

  2. […] is made to the endorsement from Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and the Taxpayer Protection Pledge that Rep. Casada and 29 other state legislators signed which commits an elected official or […]

  3. […] The Star reported on Monday, thirty members of the Tennessee General Assembly have signed the ATR Tax Pledge, and […]

  4. Susan E Gingrich

    All the good done in one’s political career can be forgotten and disregarded by voters and taxpayers for casting one vote. History proves it. Conservatives don’t raise taxes!