PUTNAM COUNTY – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam will return to the Upper Cumberland Thursday, Feb. 23, in another effort to discuss the IMPROVE Act and its impact in the region
Haslam will hold a town hall style meeting in Algood at Trinity Algood, 205 W. Wall St., officials with the Highalnds Economic Partnership – formally the Highlands Initiative – announced on Thursday. A specific meeting time is TBA.
It’s Haslam’s second visit in the UC in as many weeks. He was in Smithville Feb. 10 to talk about his legislative proposal, which cuts the sales tax on groceries but also pushes for a 7-cent gas tax hike.
The IMPROVE ACT, the first piece of the governor’s NextTennessee legislative agenda, would cut $270 million in taxes, including the sales tax on groceries, while proposing a “comprehensive and balanced transportation plan that keeps Tennessee a pay-as-you-go state and its roads debt free.”
Under the Act, the state sales tax on groceries will fall another half percent to 4.5 percent. The IMPROVE Act would also allow manufacturing companies to go to a “single weighted sales factor,” reducing their Franchise and Excise (F&E) taxes. These measures, the governor says, would make Tennessee more competitive in recruiting new manufacturing businesses to the state. The legislation would also cut the Hall income tax, which is statutorily required to be eliminated by 2022, by 1.5 percent this year and 1.5 percent in next year’s budget.
It would also push for a 7-cent hike in the state’s gas tax – 12 cents for diesel – the first gas tax increase since 1989. That, and other fee changes, would create $278 million in new dollars for the state for projects. Haslam’s office says the impact on the average Tennessee motorist would be approximately $4 a month. But counters to the proposal are expected in the Tennessee House.
“Together these proposed tax cuts and investments will move the state forward and position the next Tennessee for continued growth, prosperity and opportunity for our children and grandchildren,” Haslam said in a release.