Some West TN lawmakers throw their support behind temporarily lifting state gas tax

Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 6:22 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A moratorium to temporarily lift Tennessee’s state gas tax is on the table in Nashville.

State Representatives Bo Mitchell and John Ray Clemmons wrote a letter to Governor Bill Lee asking for immediate action on this matter.

“We are uniquely positioned, as state leaders, to provide a bit of relief in the form of eliminating all or a portion of our gas and diesel taxes for the requested period of time,” the letter reads.

Mitchell and Clemmons ask for a 90-day pause on the gas tax.

If it is implemented, drivers who fill up at Tennessee gas stations would save $0.27 a gallon, bringing the state average back below $4.00 a gallon.

AAA reported Thursdays national average at $4.32 a gallon.

Their state-by-state breakdown showed Mid-South states at $3.90 in Arkansas, $3.99 in Mississippi and $4.11 in the Volunteer State.

“We need to have some relief,” said Rep. Dwayne Thompson of Cordova.

Thompson has thrown his support behind the letter, saying this is a quick fix to putting several dollars per tank back in the pockets of Tennessee drivers.

Funds from the state gas tax are used for infrastructure, primarily roads, and Thompson believes some of the state’s unencumbered, or unused, funds could be used to fill the gap that would be left by this proposed moratorium.

“We are in an enviable position,” Thompson said. “We have something like $23 billion of unencumbered funds in the state.”

“We understand this will have a direct impact on the transportation fund in our state, but we are a fiscally sound state with ample resources to fill in any budgetary gaps that may be created,” the letter said.

Governor Lee has stated he will look at the option of lifting the gas tax.

“Part of what we’re trying to do is press to the Federal government how important it is to work toward energy independence, which would alleviate and be a long-term solution to what’s happening across the country,” Lee said.

AAA released results from a survey saying over half (59%) of the 1,051 people interviewed on the current spike in gas prices said they would make changes to their driving habits or lifestyle if the cost of gas rose to $4 per gallon.

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