SURVEY: Small Business Split on Governor's Transportation Plan

Date: February 13, 2017

Related Content: Analysis Tax Help Taxes Tennessee

Tennessee members of the National Federation of Independent Business, the nation’s leading small-business association, are giving mixed reviews of Governor’s Haslam’s proposed IMPROVE Act, which includes an increase in the state gasoline and diesel taxes.

“NFIB’s policy positions are based on the direct input of our members,” said Jim Brown, state director of NFIB. “When we surveyed our members this month about the governor’s Improving Manufacturing, Public Roads and Opportunities for a Vibrant Economy Act, there really was no clear consensus, at least on the question of a tax increase.”

When asked if they support or oppose a proposed seven-cent increase in the gas tax and 12-cent increase in the diesel tax, 55 percent of NFIB members responding to the survey oppose, 40 percent support, and 5 percent are undecided.

Respondents were more definitive about the proposal to “index” future gas tax increases to changes in the Consumer Price Index, Brown said. Seventy-five percent of respondents oppose, while 19 percent support and 5 percent are undecided.

“Small business is decidedly mixed about the IMPROVE Act,” Brown said. “Small business owners, though, are clearly opposed to indexing because they believe it would bypass future legislatures and increase revenues automatically without making the case for specific infrastructure needs.”

Brown said a few parts of the proposal registered modest or mixed support.

  • Sixty-two percent support the proposed $100 annual fee on electric vehicles and increasing charges on vehicles using alternative fuels, while 30 percent oppose.
  • Fifty-four percent support a 3 percent charge on rental vehicles while 35 percent oppose. 
  • Fifty-three percent support a $5 increase in the car registration fee, while 42 percent oppose.
  • Fifty-two percent support a local government referendum option to impose a sales-tax surcharge used solely for public transit projects, while 36 percent oppose.

NFIB will continue to monitor this issue as it is debated in the legislature and provide input when it may have an impact on our members. To learn more about NFIB in Tennessee, visit and follow @NFIB_TN on Twitter.

Related Content: Analysis | Tax Help | Taxes | Tennessee

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