Gov. Haslam outlines state’s gas tax increase, tax cuts

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – As News 2 has been reporting, Governor Bill Haslam has plans to raise the state’s gas tax by 7 cents and implement new transportation fees, while cutting business, grocery and personal investment taxes.

Here are some of the numbers from the sweeping proposal announced at the state capitol Wednesday morning that has been in the works for several years.

It’s aimed at getting needed road projects, totaling nearly $11 billion, rolling in the next several years instead of waiting potentially for decades. Click here to watch the full conference.

If passed this year by lawmakers, drivers would see the seven cent jump at the pump beginning July 1.

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Truckers would pay an extra 12 cents per gallon.

Car registration fees would also go up by $5 for the average car.

A $100 yearly fee would be placed on electric cars and vehicles using alternative fuels.

Rental cars would also be subject to 3 percent additional charge.

There will also be a push to regulate the open container law in Tennessee to prohibit anyone from drinking while in a vehicle. This move would allow an additional $18 million in federal highway funds.

Those numbers come as Gov. Haslam detailed a business tax cut plan aimed at manufacturing companies who have a large presence and “make stuff in Tennessee.” It would save them $113 million annually.

The state’s sales tax on groceries would also be cut from 5 to 4.5 percent.

The final tax cutting part of the overall proposal includes additional decreases of one and a half percent to the state’s Hall Tax on personal stocks and dividends.

The plan takes away some in tax increases and gives back the same amount in tax cuts, but can conservative Republican lawmakers like Rep. Susan Lynn get behind the idea after saying she will take it to her constituents?

“I want to know what they think about all these various adjustments in the taxes so we can direct more money into the road fund and have less of a surplus,” she told New 2 after attending the governor’s announcement at the capitol.

The surplus in state budget projections on capitol hill is considered around a billion by some but some say a portion could be used for the new road funding, instead of a gas tax increase or vehicle fees.

“Even if we only have an 800 million dollar surplus, you can take 200 million dollars on that and spend it on roads,” says Andrew Ogles, who is an often heard voice from the taxpayer group called Americans for Prosperity.

Some motorists like Alexander Sutton seem ready for a little pain at the pump if it helps fix roads–for now.

“I hope they can find it somewhere else to get the money, but in the short term its maybe best solution they can do,” he told News 2.

The governor is giving no odds on the passage of his plan.

“I think legislators understand we have to do something–path we are on does not work–so now we begin that discussion,” he said after his presentation.