Governor applauds passage of Improve Act

The IMPROVE Act will include Tennesse’s first Gas Tax increase since 1989.

The IMPROVE Act will include Tennesse’s first Gas Tax increase since 1989.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam praised passage of the IMPROVE Act, a key piece of his NextTennessee legislative plan, giving the largest tax cut in Tennessee history and making the state more competitive in recruiting manufacturing jobs while delivering a safe, reliable and debt-free transportation network for the next generation of Tennesseans.

“The IMPROVE Act is a conservative plan that directly addresses how we fund our roads and bridges for the first time in 30 years. I thank the General Assembly for passing IMPROVE, and especially Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) and Reps. Barry Doss (R-Leoma) and Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville) for their work carrying the legislation,” Haslam said.

The IMPROVE Act, “Improving Manufacturing, Public Roads and Opportunities for a Vibrant Economy,” is on its way to the governor’s desk after the House of Representatives today concurred with the Senate bill passed last Wednesday 25-6. The House version passed last week 60-37.

The legislation cuts nearly $300 million in taxes next year and more than $500 million in taxes annually at its full implementation. The tax cuts include a 20 percent decrease in the sales tax on groceries that equals $125 million and a $113 million reduction in business taxes on manufacturers.

The legislation also begins an annual cut in the Hall income tax – a tax that is statutorily required to be eliminated by 2022 but previously without a specific schedule to do so.

IMPROVE is a net tax cut for Tennesseans – a fact confirmed by the Americans for Tax Reform, an organization that opposes all tax increases as a matter of principle – and results in tax savings for an average Tennessee family.

Nearly 1,000 road and bridge projects across all 95 counties will be delivered through a conservative, responsible and user-based approach of raising the gas tax by six cents and diesel tax by 10 cents, each over the next three years.

It also increases the user fee for electric vehicle owners and allows local voters, through a referendum, in the state’s largest counties and its four largest cities to impose a surcharge on taxes they already collect to be dedicated to transit projects.