UPDATE: Haslam critic likens gas tax plan to theft - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Haslam critic likens gas tax plan to theft

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TN Gov. Bill Haslam. AP photo TN Gov. Bill Haslam. AP photo

UPDATE: The leader of the Tennessee chapter of Americans for Prosperity is speaking out against Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's transportation funding proposal that includes the state's first gas tax hike since 1989.

Andrew Ogles, the group's state director, likened it to "theft" for the governor to propose a tax hike while the state is running budget surpluses topping $1 billion. Ogles says he plans to propose his own plan to spend $2 billion on transportation needs over the next decade without raising any taxes.

Haslam is rejecting calls to tap into the state's surplus funds to pay for his transportation program, arguing that doing so would dedicate taxes paid only by Tennesseans to roads that also are used by out-of-state cars and trucks.

The governor proposes adding 7 cents to Tennessee's current 21.4-cent tax on each gallon of gas


PREVIOUS STORY: NASHVILLE (AP) - Republican Gov. Bill Haslam is set to present his proposal to boost state road funding at a news conference.

The governor will make his plan public Wednesday at the state Capitol.

Haslam has acknowledged that any long-term road program to pay for the state's $6 billion transportation backlog will likely have to include the state's first gas tax increase since 1989. Lawmakers aren't expecting him to propose a hike of more than 7 to 9 cents per gallon on top of the current 21.4 cent tax.

Other proposals could include designating a sizable chunk of the state's more than $1 billion surplus for road projects, and giving cities and counties the power to charge an additional local tax to pay for transit projects.

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