Gov. Haslam to give annual State of the State Address on Monday - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Gov. Haslam to give annual State of the State Address on Monday

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

NASHVILLE - Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam will give his annual State of the State Address on Monday, where he will discuss how Tennessee faired in 2016 and preview his plans for the state in 2017.


The address is set for January 30, 2017, at 7 p.m. ET at the Capitol Building in Nashville. 

One issue the governor has already announced will be on the agenda is a proposal to increase the gas tax. Under the proposal, the tax would increase the price of regular gas by 7 cents per gallon, and increase the price of diesel by 12 cents per gallon. 

"We haven’t addressed how we pay for roads in Tennessee in almost 30 years," said Haslam.  "All but four states have done something since then. Unfortunately we can’t keep going on the path we are going now." 

The gas tax increase falls under Haslam's IMPROVE Act, which would also lower the grocery tax from five percent to four and a half percent and decrease the Hall income tax by three percent over the course of two years. 

Other alternative plans have already been filed, something the governor could address during his speech. 

The governor may also address other parts of his 2017 agenda. That includes a new broadband initiative. The initiative involves spending $45 million over three years to bring accessible broadband to underserved rural areas in Tennessee. Gov. Haslam spoke about Tennessee's problems concerning broadband access during a visit to Cane Ridge High School in Antioch. 

"Unfortunately today, too many of our citizens are without broadband access. In fact, 34 percent of our rural residents do not have broadband access at recognized minimum standards," Gov. Haslam said. 

It is unclear whether Haslam will speak about the recent actions of newly-elected President Donald Trump in his address or how they might affect Tennessee. However, the governor did mention the president's plan to increase taxes on Mexican imports during a visit to ORNL. 

“There are a lot of products we make in Tennessee that are made in Tennessee, but components of that come from other places. So, I would urge Congress as they think through this process to think about all the global ramifications. Obviously we want to support our workers first and we want to keep that in mind," said Gov. Haslam. 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Tennessee imported more than $7 billion worth of goods from Mexico in 2015. That makes Mexico Tennessee's third-largest importer, following China and Japan. 

You can read last year's State of the State Address here.

WBIR contributed to this story.

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