Gov. Bill Haslam discusses impact of Improve Act


ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. - Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam visited Elizabethton, Tenn. to discuss the impact of the improve act.

The act increased the gas tax by four cents.

It also decreases the sales tax on groceries from five percent, to four percent.

"You'll save more at the store than what you pay at the pump." Governor Haslam said.

He explained that while prices will rise at the pump, Tennessee residents will save more in the long run by spending less on groceries.

Supporters of the new taxes say drivers from out of state will bear the burden at the pump more than state residents.

"People don't realize Tennessee is strategically located in the center. So, we have a lot of sate commerce-- trucking coming through. So they pay 40 percent of the diesel tax that's sold in Tennessee." Said John Holsclaw, the Carter County State Rep.

The goal of the Improve Act is to build funds for road projects.

"This is a big deal for carter County. Carter County, just as all the other counties across the state have a serious transportation infrastructure problem. And many of our bridges are outdated. In Carter County, there's eight plus bridges that are classified as being structurally deficient." Explained Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey.

Some Elizabethton residents who came out to meet the governor think a price increase is understandable.

"I used to come here and buy gas for 30 cents a gallon-- my first car, that's what gas was then. But $2.00 a gallon, if you think about it, as much as everything else has gone up, it really ain't that bad." Said Elizabethton resident Charles Peters.

However, the mayor of Elizabethton is still concerned about how the tax changes will pay off over time.

"My concern would be: you are raising the gas tax lower than the tax on food. However, it's going to cost you more to get that food trucked to your location. So, at the end of the day, I don't know what the net result is going to be." Mayor Curt Alexander expressed.

While the increase may raise prices at the pump, Governor Haslam said Tennessee has the lowest taxes in the country.