All seven of the Tennessee General Assembly lawmakers whose districts surround Center Hill Lake have pledged to oppose raising taxes on gasoline and diesel next year.

Haslam participated in conferences with local government officials and business leaders in 15 towns and cities across the Volunteer State – although none were in DeKalb, Smith, Van Buren, Putnam, Warren or White Counties. to pay for what his administration says is more than $6 billion in “backlogged” road improvement projects across the state.

Democratic state legislator in Tennessee – who has promised he’ll oppose any gas tax increase in 2016.

Republican Gov. Bihaslambudgetll Haslam has been hinting at wanting to raise taxes on road-users for the last several months.

Tennessee’s 21.4 cents per gallon tax on gasoline has been in place since 1989, as has the 18.4 cents per gallon diesel tax. Tennessee’s chapter of Americans for Prosperity, a national group that lobbies for lower taxes and smaller government, is opposed to any gas- tax increase. The organization is soliciting pledges from legislators to oppose any effort by the Haslam administration to do so.

Dunlap edged out his Republican competitor, Robert F. Dunham, for the then-open House District 43 legislative seat by just 54 votes last November. Dunlap said he told an audience during a debate prior to the election a year ago that he opposed raising the gas tax because “the economy has just been picking back up, and I don’t think now is the time for that.”

Rep. Kevin Dunlap, D-Rock Island

Rep. Kevin Dunlap, D-Rock Island

The governor and transportation officials in his administration trekked around Tennessee over the summer making their case that the state lacks the necessary revenue

“Cars and trucks are more fuel-efficient, construction and labor costs have risen, and Congress has not passed a long- term transportation funding bill in 10 years,” said a press release from the governor’s office back in September. “Tennessee’s population is expected to grow by 2 million by 2040, which puts a greater demand on the state’s infrastructure.”

Members of the Tennessee Senate from around Center Hill Lake who’ve given assurances that they’ll vote against any gas tax increases include Mae Beavers of Mt. Juliet, Paul Bailey of Sparta and Janice Bowling of Tullahoma.


Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet

Beavers, whose Senate district includes Dekalb and Smith Counties, said the concept of raising the gas tax looks to be politically dead for 2016. Key legislators in both Republican- controlled chambers of the General Assembly have come out against making truckers and motorists in Tennessee pay more to fund road improvements. to keep up with essential highway maintenance and construction projects.

Those factors are combining to force the state to contemplate ways to increase revenue dedicated to transportation funding, according to the Haslam administration.

As of late October, however, the governor had yet to put forward a specific gas-tax increase proposal Area lawmakers serving in the state House of Representatives who have promised to stand against a tax increase are Terri Lynn Weaver of Lancaster, Ryan Williams of Cookeville, Mark Pody of Lebanon and Kevin Dunlap of Rock Island.

A farmer and schoolteacher, Dunlap is the only Democrat among the group – and the only

Beavers added, though, that when it comes to making predictions about the Legislature, “I would never say never.”