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VOL. 41 | NO. 2 | Friday, January 13, 2017

Haslam critic likens gas tax plan to theft

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NASHVILLE (AP) - 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.

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