Haslam to unveil top legislative priority on Wednesday
By ERIK SCHELZIG
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Republican Gov. Bill Haslam is scheduled to unveil his top legislative priority on Wednesday as state lawmakers await details on his plan to boost transportation funding in Tennessee.
Lawmakers are largely sympathetic to Haslam’s arguments that the state’s $6 billion road project backlog needs to be addressed, but many are wary about committing to the state’s first gas tax hike since 1989 – especially with a budget surplus exceeding $1 billion.
Haslam has acknowledged that legislators want to see an equivalent tax cut in the general fund if the tax on gasoline is hiked, but he has cautioned against hurting the state’s financial situation in the event of an economic downturn in the future.
Haslam also stresses that the state has cut $270 million in taxes since he took office in 2011.
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