|You know when you can be sure a politician is lying?
When they call a tax a fee.
Our state senator, Randy McNally, absolutely turned his back on us in the Haslam family gas tax increase. McNally penned an opinion bragging about all the tax cuts he and other turncoats passed while admitting there is a "modest adjustment to the user fee" (gas tax). He can't even bring himself to call it what it is. He must think we're pretty stupid.
No Mr. McNally, it was NOT a "modest adjustment to the user fee", it was a tax increase on every gallon of gas every Tennessean will buy and a tax increase on every gallon of gas every business in Tennessee will pay and pass that on to the citizens. That while the state sits on nearly a two billion dollar surplus and on top of an already 21.4 cent Tennessee gas tax.
As the old saying goes, you can put lipstick on a pig but it's still a pig.
Below is McNally's Oped.
Opinion: General Assembly passes largest tax cut in history
The Tennessee General Assembly just passed the largest tax cut in state history. The amended IMPROVE Act contains over $400 million in tax cuts including a 20 percent cut on groceries, a tax reduction on manufacturers creating jobs and property tax relief for veterans and the elderly. The legislation continues a six-year, uninterrupted streak of tax cuts by Republicans. But if you scan newspaper headlines or limit your social media activity to certain isolated bubbles, you’d never know it.
The legislation does includes a modest adjustment to the user fee Tennessee collects to fund our roads, the first in nearly 30 years. But that adjustment is far outweighed by other cuts to the general fund. It may not sell newspapers or serve the narrow self-interest of the professional naysayers to say so, but the IMPROVE Act is no “gas tax” bill. It is pure and unadulterated tax reform.
Nearly half of our local roads and state bridges are in desperate need of repair. People are driving more frequently but, due to technological advances, use less fuel. As a result, our user fee has not kept up with the demand for new roads and repairs.
The solution the governor first proposed funded our roads but did not reduce the overall burden on taxpayers. That’s when the General Assembly stepped in. We heard the will of the people and saw an opportunity to solve our road funding problem and cut taxes at the same time.
In election after election, the people of Tennessee asked for fiscal responsibility, tax cuts and smaller government. We delivered by eviscerating the gift tax, eliminating the death tax, phasing out the Hall tax and chipping away at the tax on food. That’s $270 million worth of cuts coupled with over $450 million eliminated from the budget.
We delivered again with this legislation.
The IMPROVE Act we passed cuts more taxes than we have in the last six years combined: $410 million in total.
This is a fundamental rebalancing of our budget to refocus our priorities on things government should do while starving the forces of government expansion.
The user fee for our roads, the “gas tax,” is the most conservative way to raise revenue. The more you use the roads, the more you pay.
The general fund - the lifeblood of government - is a different animal. When there is a surplus in the general fund, there is a mad dash by special interests to get at it. That is why we cut taxes that go to the general fund in this bill. Not only does that put money in your pocket, it starves the beast of government expansion.
Those who suggest redirecting a portion of the general fund to transportation are short-sighted. Politically, it would have been the easiest thing in the world to do. Road projects would be funded and the professional naysayers would have no talking points to use in their campaign propaganda. But it would not have solved our fundamental problem - and it would have added new ones.
The taxes that go to the general fund are paid by Tennesseans. The user fee that goes to fund roads is paid by trucking companies and tourists.
While raiding the general fund would have put a temporary band-aid on the problem, it would have undermined the foundation of our economic success and set us on a path to debt and the loss our AAA bond rating.
When formulating policy, we cannot chart our course based on what might be best for the next election. We must formulate policy based on what is best for the next generation. Rebalancing our revenue to restore our road funding and slash taxes going to the general fund is the right thing to do. It is the conservative thing to do. And it resulted in the largest tax cut in Tennessee history.
Don’t let anyone tell you different.