Debates over a gas tax hike and budget surplus plans are coming.
As the Tennessee Legislature gets to work this month, there are several issues expected to dominate the debates. Here’s a look at what to expect.
Gov. Bill Haslam is expected to ask the General Assembly to approve an increase to gas and diesel tax rates to fund transportation projects and upkeep of Tennessee roads and bridges. However, the plan is expected to face a debate. Legislators are uncertain about raising the gas tax for the first time since 1989, and there is also sentiment that a gas tax isn’t needed and that transportation project priorities haven’t been clearly stated.
NFIB/TN will be engaging members on this issue—please weigh in when you receive a survey!
Lawmakers will have to decide how to handle a budget surplus for the second year in a row. In 2016, the money was used for the state’s rainy day fund, highway fund, and teacher pay raises. Options this year could include bolstering the state’s pension fund, approving disbursement back to legislators’ districts, or topping off the rainy day fund again.
Given the state’s budget surplus, legislators may also be looking to trim tax rates. The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported that possibilities could include cutting the state’s corporate franchise and excise tax rate, decreasing state sales taxes, and getting rid of the ‘privilege tax’ on professionals like attorneys and doctors.
Healthcare reform and occupational licensing reforms are also likely to come up. Stay tuned, and be ready to voice your opinion as NFIB/TN keeps you updated on the key issues impacting small business owners in 2017.