Tennessee lawmakers renew call for gas tax moratorium

Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 5:41 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 16, 2022 at 5:55 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Some lawmakers are calling for a drop in the state gas tax as prices soar to record highs. In March, some Democrats asked Gov. Bill Lee for a moratorium on the gas tax.

Tennesseans pay about 27 cents a gallon in tax; that tax is pretty crucial when it comes to funding infrastructure products in the state.

But some want Lee to consider dropping that tax temporarily to help relieve the price at the pump for citizens.

Right now, the average price per gallon for unleaded is $4.63 in Tennessee -- the highest of all Mid-South states by at least ten cents.

In March following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, two Democratic lawmakers from Nashville sent a letter to Lee requesting a 90-day moratorium on the state’s gas and diesel tax. That’s when gas was just hitting $4 a gallon.

Now some lawmakers want it to be considered again as we head toward $5 a gallon.

But Lee’s office believes moratoriums already put in place will help the budgets of Tennessee’s families like the month-long grocery tax suspension which goes into effect in August.

In part, Lee’s office said

“The Governor also signed a bill to suspend the annual state vehicle registration fee for the next calendar year - this will provide an additional $120 million in tax relief. These two initiatives are a starting point, and in the coming months, we will continue reviewing options to ease the burden on Tennesseans amid historic inflation”

But Democrats believe now may be the right time.

“I know eliminating the gas tax is difficult because that’s how our road projects are funded but we’re receiving a considerable amount of infrastructure funds from the federal government, our budget has a surplus,” said Sen. Raumesh Akbari, D-Memphis.

Other states, like Mississippi, are discussing a gas tax moratorium. Connecticut has already implemented one.

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