TDOT Reports Timing for Completion of 962 Road Projects Included in the Fuel-Tax-Increasing IMPROVE Act Going from 10 to 20-Plus Years

Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) officials reported last week that the timing for the completion of the 962 projects totaling $10.5 billion included in the fuel tax increasing IMPROVE Act will now take 20 plus years instead of the 10 years originally estimated.

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Ohio Lawmakers Considering A Gas Tax Increase Hear Testimony About Tennessee’s Gas Tax Increase Signed into Law in 2017

COLUMBUS, Ohio – As Ohio lawmakers consider the call by newly-inaugurated Governor Mike DeWine for an increase in motor fuel taxes of 18 cents per gallon on both gas and diesel, both the state House and Senate have heard testimony on the matter. One of the witnesses providing testimony used…

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Ohio House Finance Committee Makes Its Own Road Funding Proposal of 10.7 Cent Gas Tax Increase Phased in Over Three Years, No Indexing

COLUMBUS, Ohio – After more than an hour and a half delay waiting for the substitute bill to be prepared, House Finance Chairman Scott Oelslager (R-District 48) called the meeting to order and presented the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 proposed Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Budget under HB 62. The Transportation…

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Stokes Nielson’s Tweet On New Podcast Questioning Possible Senate Hopeful Bill Haslam’s Gas Tax Goes Viral

Stokes Nielson’s tweet about his podcast, “The Spirit of Humanity,” which raises questions about former Governor and possible U.S. Senate hopeful Bill Haslam relative to gas tax increases, goes viral with over a half million impressions within hours of its pre-release. As reported by The Tennessee Star, Stokes launched a…

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Tennessee Star EXCLUSIVE: Country Music’s Stokes Nielson Launches a New Initiative ‘Stokes for Tennessee Freedom’

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – Stokes Nielson granted The Tennessee Star an exclusive sit-down in the shadow of the State Capitol to talk about the new venture he is initiating called Stokes For Tennessee Freedom. Stokes will be recognized for his country music career as an award-winning songwriter with the band The…

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As Governor, Democrat Phil Bredesen Diverted Road Money to Balance the Budget and Pay for TennCare

Last week, Tennessee’s former Governor Phil Bredesen announced that he would run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) in the 2018 election. Even though Bredesen is a Democrat and Corker is a Republican, both disfavor President Trump, both have no aversion to raising…

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Congressional Candidate John Rose: ‘I Fully Support’ Governor Haslam’s Gas Tax Increase

  At a February event in Smith County that featured Governor Haslam promoting his proposed gas tax increase, recently announced Sixth Congressional District candidate John Rose told the governor, “I just want to say I applaud you for making this proposal. I fully support it.” You can hear Rose make…

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Tennessee Star Poll Summary: 86 Percent of GOP Primary Voters Support Trump, Corker Vulnerable, and Governor’s Race Wide Open

Tennessee Star

The Tennessee Star Poll released earlier this week revealed some important information about the current attitudes of likely Republican primary voters in Tennessee. Among the key results: 86 percent of likely Republican primary voters in Tennessee approve of President Trump’s job performance. No gubernatorial candidate has more than 10 percent support…

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Tennessee Star Poll: GOP Primary Voters More Likely to Support Gubernatorial Candidate Who Will Repeal Gas Tax Increase, 48 Percent to 29 Percent

The Tennessee Star Poll of 1,007 likely Republican primary voters shows that by a wide margin, 48 percent to 29 percent, they are “more likely to support” a gubernatorial candidate who supports a repeal of the 6 cents per gallon gas tax increase and 10 cents per gallon diesel tax…

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Democrats Unlikely to Get The $250 Million Education Bill For Their Yes Vote On The IMPROVE Act

House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh (D-Ripley) said Wednesday in both the Finance, Ways & Means Subcommittee and full Committee that he didn’t have the votes for the $250 million K-12 Block Grant Act, which was reportedly part of the deal Governor Haslam made to get needed support from the Democrats…

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State Rep. Tillis Responds to ‘Group That is Calling Me A Liar’ for Supporting Gas Tax Increase ‘After I Had Said Publicly That I Could Not’

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…

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House Majority Leader Glen Casada Defends His Vote to Increase The Gas Tax

Tennessee Star

House Majority Leader Glen Casada (R-Franklin), issued a press release Monday defending his vote to increase the gas tax through Governor Haslam’s IMPROVE Act, after initially announcing on February 8 his support for the alternative Hawk Plan. The press release was forwarded via email, addressed to “Friends,” stating “I wanted…

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6 Things Boss Doss Got Wrong In His Sales Pitch For Governor Haslam’s Gas Tax Increasing IMPROVE Act

  As the House sponsor of the IMPROVE Act Tax Cut Act of 2017 (HB 534), State Rep. Barry “Boss” Doss (R-Leoma) was well versed on all of the related subject matter and respectful throughout his long and challenging sales pitch for Governor Haslam’s IMPROVE Act to the various committees…

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House Republican Conservatives Put Up a Valiant Fight Against Gov. Haslam’s Gas Tax Increase, Setting Stage for 2018 Election

  When the Tennessee House of Representatives passed Governor Haslam’s gas tax increase bill by a 60 to 37 margin on Wednesday, a bare majority of Republicans–37 for and 35 against—voted yes in favor of the unpopular tax increase. The 35 conservative Republicans who stood for the foundational principle of…

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Jeff Hartline Commentary: In Tennessee, Growing Government is the New Faux ‘Conservative’

By Jeff Hartline We hear from time to time the graying generation express “Fifty is the new Thirty” or we hear fashionistas tell us that “Red is the new Black”. In trying to piece together the policy “MOAB” that went off yesterday in the Tennessee General Assembly, we have concluded…

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Game On: GOP Primary Challenger Blasts State Rep. Susan Lynn for Voting Yes on Gas Tax Increase After Saying She Opposed It

Less than 24 hours after State Rep. Susan Lynn (R-Mt. Juliet) broke her promise not to vote for a gas tax increase, her 2018 Republican primary challenger is on the attack. “In a story reported by The Tennessee Star on March 12, 2017 Susan Lynn declined a challenge by Jeremy…

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Judson Phillips Commentary: RIP Tennessee Republican Party

  RIP Tennessee Republican Party. The Tennessee Republican Party died on April 19, 2017. Ten years after the GOP became the majority party in Tennessee, led by a liberal governor, the party committed political suicide. By voting for the largest tax increase in the history of the state of Tennessee,…

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Haslam Bargained with Democrats and Establishment Republicans to Pass Gas Tax Increase Bill

Tennessee Star

  Governor Haslam’s IMPROVE Act “Tax Cut Act of 2017” (HB 534), which includes a 6 cents per gallon gas tax increase and a 10 cents per gallon diesel tax increase phased in over three years, garnered 23 votes from Democrats and 37 establishment Republicans, which was more than sufficient to…

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Boss Doss Praises Radio Host Ralph Bristol During House Floor Debate for Calling Gas Tax Increase Bill ‘A Tax Cut’

State Rep. Barry “Boss” Doss (R-Leoma) praised 99.7 FM WWTN radio host Ralph Bristol on the floor of the House on Wednesday during the debate over The IMPROVE Act “Tax Cut Act of 2017” for calling the gas tax increase bill “a tax cut.” On Wednesday morning, during a live…

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On Morning of Gas Tax Increase Vote, Haslam Jokes About Using ‘Standard’ Wattage of Lamps to Hot Box Legislators: ‘It Involves the Chains’

  Hours before the Tennessee House of Representatives was scheduled to begin floor debate on his controversial bill to increase gas taxes on Wednesday, Governor Haslam joked in an interview with Ralph Bristol, host of Nashville’s Morning News on 99.7 FM WWTN, that he used ‘standard’ wattage lamps in his…

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Haslam Reduced Highway Fund Budget By 13 Percent, Grew State Budget By 20 Percent Before Proposing Gas Tax Increases

Tennessee Star

Governor Haslam reduced the Highway Fund budget by 13 percent, while he grew the State budget by 20 percent during his first six years in office. Only after he made these reductions in the Highway Fund budget did he propose the gas tax and diesel tax increases included in the…

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Haslam’s IMPROVE Act Includes Same ‘Economic Development’ That Lost Millions in TNInvestco

Tennessee Star

  “A performance audit from the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has revealed the State of Tennessee has only recovered $5.3 million of its initial $200 million investment in the TNInvestco program,”  according to a statement dated November 10, 2016, under the name of Justin P. Wilson, Comptroller, referring to a performance…

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Mayor Rick Graham Re-Elected in Spring Hill; 3 New Aldermen Win as Incumbents Fall

“Voters in the April 13, 2017, Spring Hill Municipal Election re-elected Mayor Rick Graham to a second four-year term,” the Spring Hill City website reports. “Incumbent Alderman Amy Wurth, who ran unopposed, was re-elected to Ward 1, and three new aldermen will join the board: Jeff Graves in Ward 2,…

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Gas Tax Increase Lobbyists Begin Advertising Campaign on Ralph Bristol’s WWTN Show

Regular listeners to Nashville’s Morning News With Ralph Bristol on 99.7 FM WWTN may have noticed a new advertiser on Thursday–the Transportation Coalition of Tennessee. The Coalition is a group of 39 lobbying groups that support Governor Haslam’s IMPROVE Act “Tax Cut Act of 2017,” the majority of which will directly…

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WWTN’s Ralph Bristol Blasts Conservative State Representative Who Opposes Haslam’s Gas Tax Increase Bill

Tennessee Star

  Ralph Bristol, host of Nashville’s Morning News on 99.7 FM WWTN, blasted a leading conservative Republican State Representative who opposes Gov. Haslam’s gas tax increase proposal, the IMPROVE ACT “Tax Cut Act of 2017,” on his program Thursday morning. Earlier this month, State Rep. Jerry Sexton (R-Bean Station) called…

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The 962 Road Construction Projects Costing $10.5 Billion in The Gas Tax Increase Bill Can Be ‘Modified’ by TDOT

Tennessee Star

  Governor Haslam and other administration officials have stated since announcing the IMPROVE Act , now the “Tax Cut Act of 2017,” on January 18 that the purpose of the gas and diesel tax increases included in the bill is to fund 962 needed road construction projects in all 95 counties for a…

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BREAKING: Majority of House Republicans Oppose Gas Tax Increase in ‘Secret’ Whip Vote, 37 to 30

Tennessee Star

  Earlier this week the House Republican Caucus Chair Rep. Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville) conducted a secret poll of the House GOP Caucus members to gauge support for the Haslam IMPROVE Act “Tax Cut Act of 2017.” Williams distributed popsicle sticks to members of the Caucus for them to cast their…

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Gas Tax Increase Passes House Finance Committee on a Voice Vote

Tennessee Star

  Rep. Charles Sargent (R-Franklin), chairman of the House Finance, Ways, and Means Committee, presided over a voice vote on Tuesday that advanced the controversial IMPROVE Act “Tax Cut Act of 2017” to the Calendar and Rules Committee, where it awaits scheduling for a vote on the floor of the full…

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80 Percent of Speaker Beth Harwell’s Constituents Contacted by AFP Door Knocking Oppose Gas Tax Increase

  Americans for Prosperity (AFP) Tennessee organized a Day of Action Saturday during which volunteers knocked on doors in Speaker Beth Harwell’s (R-Nashville) district asking constituents whether they were in favor of a gas tax increase, or wanted revenues from the $2 billion surplus to be used for funding of…

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Speaker Harwell Says She Will Have a Road Funding Plan That Does Not Raise The Gas Tax

Tennessee Star

  Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) says that she and many other members of the Tennessee House of Representatives will introduce an alternative plan that will not increase gas taxes when the IMPROVE Act “Tax Cut Act of 2017” comes before the House Finance Ways and Means Committee on Monday for consideration.…

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Americans For Prosperity To Hold ‘A Gas Tax Day Of Action’ In Speaker Harwell’s District

Tennessee Star

  Americans For Prosperity-Tennessee (AFP) announced ‘A Day of Action’ in the fight against the gas tax hike in the home district of Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville), in order to encourage her to oppose the unpopular measure. Volunteers will be door-knocking all day Saturday, April 8 from 9 a.m. to 5…

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State Rep. Jerry Sexton Calls Out Hypocrisy of Gas Tax Supporters Who Oppose Use of Sales Taxes for Road Construction

Fireworks erupted on the floor of the Tennessee House of Representativesewhen the typically rapid-fire tick-tock of the day’s agenda was interrupted as Rep. Jerry Sexton (R-Bean Station) questioned Rep. Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville) on the “special privilege” of professional sports teams re-directing sale tax revenues back to a Nashville municipal organization whose…

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Concerned Veterans of America: ‘Veterans Being Used in Tennessee Tax Hike Ploy’

Tennessee Star

Concerned Veterans of America (CVA)  blasted Tennessee’s Republican political establishment on Monday for using veterans in a “Tennessee [gas] tax hike ploy.” “The politicians pushing for this gas tax increase know that it’s unpopular, so they’ve resorted to using veterans as pawns to push their big government agenda. Pretending that…

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Grover Norquist Praised Chris Christie’s Gas Tax Increase in New Jersey Before He Signed Off on Haslam’s in Tennessee

Washington insider Grover Norquist, founder of Americans for Tax Reform, praised New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s gas tax increase in New Jersey in 2016, a year before he claimed Gov. Haslam’s gas tax increase proposal here in Tennessee is “Taxpayer Protection Pledge compliant.” In the letter he sent to Tennessee…

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Potential GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Mae Beavers Promises to Repeal Gas Tax Increase If It Passes This Year and She is Elected in 2018

On Wednesday State Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) wasted no time in claiming the conservative mantle as she considers a run for the Republican nomination for Governor in 2018. “Yesterday Senate and House committees advanced the Governor’s proposed tax increases on gasoline and diesel fuel towards passage. I remain adamantly…

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If Mark Green Does Not Run, Mae Beavers Will Be Only Potential or Announced GOP Candidate For Governor Who Opposes The Gas Tax Increase

Tennessee Star

“Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, said she is in the early stages of a possible run at the state’s top position after the leading conservative candidate might be headed to the nation’s capitol,” the Lebanon Democrat reported on Monday. If State Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville) becomes the next Secretary of…

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Boss Doss Breaks Rules to Ram Amended Gas Tax Increase Through House Transportation Committee

Tennessee Star

In a stunning abuse of power, State Rep. Barry Doss (R-Leoma) broke a long-standing rule of the Tennessee House of Representatives to ram an amended version of Gov. Haslam’s gas tax increase through the House Transportation Committee he chairs on Tuesday. A bill containing the new and improved IMPROVE Act…

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Under Governor Haslam, Tennessee Department of Transportation ‘Overhead’ Costs Have Grown 63 Percent, While ‘Highway Infrastructure’ Spending Has Shrunk By 33 Percent

The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) total costs for “Administration” plus “Headquarters Operation,” what would be considered “overhead” in the business world, have grown by 63 percent, from $78.9 to $117 million, in the seven years between Gov. Haslam’s first budget in FY 2011-12 and his  proposed budget for FY…

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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…

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Gov. Haslam Admits Up to $70 Million of Gas Taxes Can Be Spent on Mass Transit by Cities and Counties

A spokesperson for Gov. Haslam has admitted that up to $70 million of highway user fees collected by the State of Tennessee, primarily from gas taxes, can be spent on mass transit in the FY 2017-2018 budget. In that budget, which he transmitted to the Tennessee General Assembly on January…

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House Transportation Committee Delays Vote on The IMPROVE Act Another Week

  State Rep. Courtney Rogers (R-Goodlettsville), Vice-Chair of the House Transportation Committee, acted as Chair when the committee convened on Tuesday in the absence of Chairman Barry Doss (R-Leoma), who was not present at the hearing. Acting Chair Rogers reported to the committee members present that Chairman Doss had asked…

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High Noon: Steve Gill and Ralph Bristol Debate the Gas Tax on WWTN Tomorrow

Tennessee Star

Steve Gill and Ralph Bristol will debate the merits of Gov. Haslam’s proposed gas tax increase on 99.7 FM WWTN’s Dan Mandis Show tomorrow (Wednesday) at noon. Gill, the former Nashville talk radio host who led the successful opposition to Gov. Sundquist’s proposed state income tax in 2000-2002, is opposed…

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Fifty Leading Tennessee Conservatives Send Open Letter to State Legislature Opposing Gas Tax Increase

Fifty leading Tennessee conservatives have sent an open letter to the Tennessee General Assembly opposing Gov. Haslam’s proposed IMPROVE Act, which includes a 7 cents per gallon gas tax increase and a 12 cents per gallon diesel tax increase. The letter was released Tuesday morning, on the same day the…

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Gas Tax Apologists Unable to Explain Why the 15 Percent of User Fees Diverted From Highway Fund is Not Spent on Road Construction

Tennessee Star

At least 15 percent of the $1.2 billion in highway user fees collected by the state of Tennessee in FY 2015-2016–$189 million– was diverted away from road construction (see page A-65 of The Budget: State of Tennessee, Distribution of Actual Revenue by Fund, FY 2015-2016). Under Gov. Haslam’s proposed FY…

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State Rep. Susan Lynn: ‘I Am Not For The Gas Tax So There Is Nothing To Debate’

Tennessee Star

“No, I am not for the gas tax so there is nothing to debate,” State Rep. Susan Lynn (R- Mount Juliet) tells The Tennessee Star in response to challenger Jeremy Hayes’ March 8 press release calling on her to debate him over the issue. Hayes opposes Gov. Haslam’s proposed gas tax increase.…

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House Transportation Committee Fails To Advance IMPROVE Act, Despite Multiple Tactics By Chairman Doss

  The House Transportation Committee failed to advance Gov. Haslam’s IMPROVE Act (HB 0534) on Tuesday, despite multiple tactics employed by Chairman State Rep. Barry Doss (R-Leoma), a vigorous proponent of the governor’s gas tax increase proposal, to accomplish that outcome. The committee voted instead to roll the vote over…

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