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School Board backs higher gas tax
Gov. Bill Haslam said the alternative of improving roads using existing sales tax funds would hurt education.

The Warren County Board of Education unanimously stands in support of the gasoline tax increase championed by Gov. Bill Haslam, saying the alternative of improving roads using existing sales tax funds would hurt education.
“We all know what is first to get cut when the budget gets tight,” said School Board member Bill Zechman in urging the board to adopt a resolution in support of Haslam’s plan to increase the gas tax in Tennessee to pay for new roads and bridges.
The plan, presented to the General Assembly by the governor, asks for a 7-cent per gallon tax increase on gasoline sold in Tennessee. The proceeds would help fund a proposed $6 billion infrastructure plan to improve highways and bridges throughout the state.
The gas tax is presently 21.4 cents per gallon. It generates about $676 million per year, state figures indicate. Tennessee has not raised its gas tax since 1989. To offset the gas tax impact, the governor suggested cutting the sales tax on food.
In urging the School Board to support a resolution in favor of the gas tax, Zechman pointed out it would be beneficial for not only education but for local government. Specifically, Zechman said it is estimated the gas tax increase would provide $738,164 for Warren County.
McMinnville could expect to see $147,811 in additional revenue for its part of the tax each year, Zechman said.
The load on each motorist would not be that much as Haslam's office estimates drivers would pay an additional $4.17 each month for gas if the tax is increased.
Zechman added that by funding roads through the gas tax, those who use Tennessee roads from other states would be doing their part to pay for nicer roads.
“It would be almost like a user fee," said Zechman.
At the pump
Gas tax revenue: $676 million a year
Last tax increase: 1989
Extra cost to motorists: $4.17 per month, average
Source: Governor's office