Anti-tax group poll: Most Republicans opposed to Haslam gas tax plan

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110TH TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLY5 things to watch in the Tennessee legislature (Feb. 5) | 1:05

Tennessee lawmakers are back in session. Here are five things to watch for the week of Feb. 5. Joel Ebert and Duane W. Gang / The Tennessean

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110TH TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLY3 takeaways from Gov. Bill Haslam's State of the State address | 1:00

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam on Jan. 30, 2017 gave his annual State of the State address before the General Assembly. Here are three takeways from his speech, the next to last before leaving office. Joel Ebert and Duane W. Gang / The Tennessean / Wochit

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110TH TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLYGov. Haslam's 2017-18 education budget | 1:02

Gov. Bill Haslam's 2017-18 budget includes $100 million for teacher pay raises and $22.2 million for English-language learning students. Jason Gonzales / The Tennessean / Wochit

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110TH TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLYSen. Doug Overbey discusses wildfire recovery | 2:27

Sen. Doug Overbey discussed wilfire recovery efforts Tuesday in the Senate finance committee meeting in Nashville. Jake Lowary/Tennessean

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110TH TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLYRep. David Hawk reacts to State of the State | 2:43

Rep. David Hawk, R-Greeneville, reacts to Gov. Bill Haslam's State of the State address Jan. 30 at the capitol. Jake Lowary/Tennessean

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110TH TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLYSen. Jim Tracy reacts to State of the State | 1:56

Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville, reacts to Gov. Bill Haslam's State of the State address Jan. 30 at the capitol. Jake Lowary/Tennessean

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110TH TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLYNashville Democrats react to State of the State | 1:15

Democrats Rep. Mike Stewart and Sen. Jeff Yarbro, both of Nashville, react to State of the State address Jan. 30 at the capitol. Jake Lowary/Tennessean

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110TH TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLYRaw video: Haslam discusses 2018 budget proposal | 5:51

Gov. Bill Haslam outlined his 2018 budget with reporters on Jan. 30 at the capitol. Jake Lowary/Tennessean

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110TH TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLYSenator Mark Norris reacts to State of the State pt. 2 | 0:00

State of the State Kirk Bado / The Tennessean

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110TH TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLYSenator Mark Norris reacts to State of the State pt. 1 | 0:00

Norris reacts to State of the State.

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110TH TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLY5 things to watch in the Tennessee legislature (Week of Feb. 1) | 0:35

Here are 5 big topics coming up to watch for this week in the 110th General Assembly. Jake Lowary / The Tennessean / Wochit

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110TH TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLYGov. Haslam wants to expand broadband access to Tennesseans | 3:36

Gov. Bill Haslam on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017 announced efforts to expand broadband access. Adam Tamburin/The Tennessean

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110TH TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLYGov. Haslam outlines broadband initiative | 1:03

Gov. Bill Haslam announced the latest plank of his legislative agenda — a broadband initiative — Thursday morning at Cane Ridge High School in Antioch. Haslam's plan will provide $45 million over 3 years in grants and tax credits for service providers. The governor said the plan focuses on three broad issues: funding, cutting regulation and education — "digital literacy." Karen Kraft / The Tennessean

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110TH TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLY5 things to know about Gov. Haslam's IMPROVE Act proposal | 1:11

The plan, which is officially known as the Improving Manufacturing, Public Roads and Opportunities for a Vibrant Economy or IMPROVE ACT was unveiled on Wednesday. Karen Kraft / The Tennessean

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110TH TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLYSen. Doug Overbey discusses Gatlinburg recovery | 1:06

Sen. Doug Overbey discusses Gatlinburg recovery after a meeting Thursday at the legislature in Nashville. Jake Lowary / The Tennessean

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110TH TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLYKey legislative issues to watch | 1:42

With lawmakers set to return to Nashville on Tuesday to officially convene the 110th General Assembly, the session is expected to cover a multitude of issues ranging from a potential gas tax increase to how to spend the state's budget surplus. Kyleah Starling/The Tennessean

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110TH TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLYRon Ramsey readies to leave Lt. Governor post | 0:47

Outgoing Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey talks about retiring from the leadership position in the Tennessee legislature. Lacey Atkins / Tennessean

17 of 17

  • 5 things to watch in the Tennessee legislature (Feb. 5)
  • 3 takeaways from Gov. Bill Haslam's State of the State address
  • Gov. Haslam's 2017-18 education budget
  • Sen. Doug Overbey discusses wildfire recovery
  • Rep. David Hawk reacts to State of the State
  • Sen. Jim Tracy reacts to State of the State
  • Nashville Democrats react to State of the State
  • Raw video: Haslam discusses 2018 budget proposal
  • Senator Mark Norris reacts to State of the State pt. 2
  • Senator Mark Norris reacts to State of the State pt. 1
  • 5 things to watch in the Tennessee legislature (Week of Feb. 1)
  • Gov. Haslam wants to expand broadband access to Tennesseans
  • Gov. Haslam outlines broadband initiative
  • 5 things to know about Gov. Haslam's IMPROVE Act proposal
  • Sen. Doug Overbey discusses Gatlinburg recovery
  • Key legislative issues to watch
  • Ron Ramsey readies to leave Lt. Governor post

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has proposed a 7-cents-per-gallon increase on gasoline to the state‘s gas tax.(Photo: KENNETH CUMMINGS/The Jackson Sun)

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A poll by a conservative activist group found a majority of surveyed Tennessee Republican voters favored spending the state‘s budget surplus before raising the gas tax.

The survey of nearly 600 registered Republican voters was conducted by , an anti-tax group led by a lobbyist and a campaign consultant.

It was conducted on the two days following Gov. Bill Haslam‘s January 30 address, when Haslam pushed his case for a 7-cent per gallon hike on gasoline. As part of the governor‘s proposal, taxes would be lowered in other areas, including the sales tax on groceries. Tennessee faces a $10 billion backlog of road projects and a funding system that has not kept up with modern demands.

In the survey, which asked how closely statements matched their feelings on Haslam‘s plan, 53 percent of respondents answered that Tennessee “should spend the $1 billion surplus before raising taxes,” while 28 percent said they “support the gas tax increase” to either “fund road improvements to ease traffic” (21 percent) or to “ease traffic in my community” (7 percent). Fifteen percent of those surveyed opposed the gas tax “no matter what.”

Republican lawmakers have road-funding proposals that rely on sales tax revenue and the state‘s general fund surplus, instead of Haslam‘s tax increase. One point of contention is whether to dedicate a recurring roads-specific tax increase, or to rely on one-time surplus funds.

“The survey showed that Tennessee conservatives are certainly open to infrastructure investment to improve roads,” a spokesman for Tennesseans for Conservative Action said, “but with a high number of those surveyed who are unsure, there is a lot of education to be done in the coming weeks and months by those for and against the proposal.”

The phone poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. It reached “registered voters with reliable GOP voting records” who stated they were likely to vote in 2018 GOP primaries again.

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