Adjustments to TN gas tax proposal give bill momentum

Adjustments to TN gas tax proposal give bill momentum

NASHVILLE, TN (WMC) - New changes to the Tennessee gas tax bill has given it new momentum in Nashville.

Governor Bill Haslam said the gas tax hike is needed to pay for the backlog of road projects across the state.

The cost to fill up may be going up, but lawmakers said you'll end up saving more in the long run with a tax cut on food.

"Folks will save more at the store than they will at the pump,"  Tennessee Senator Majority leader Mark Norris, from Collierville, said.

He said he reworked the gas tax bill to include a reduction of the state tax on food for all Tennesseans, whether you drive a car or not.

"It's a very positive impact for all Tennesseans. We've got a $10 billion backlog. We've got aging infrastructure in this state that needs to be fixed."

The gas tax would go up $.06 over 3 years, and at the same time the state tax on food would go down from five percent to four percent.

According to the USDA, the average monthly cost of food for a family of four is $876. A 20 percent cut of the state tax on food would lower bills $8.76 per month. A $.06 gas tax hike would cost a family $3.21 per month

So Tennesseans come out ahead on paper.

"I mean it's a good idea in theory, provided that all the logistics work out," Memphis resident Liz Rabalais said.

Others had mixed reactions.

"I think there's other options to do the budget. I think they need to just take it back to the table and look at other options," Memphian Mike Miller said.

The new bill could go up for a vote in front of the full house and senate in two weeks.

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