Gas tax pause proposed in Nashville amid soaring prices
Nashville Democrats are pushing Gov. Bill Lee to address spiking gas prices by temporarily halting Tennessee's gas tax.
- In a letter to the governor, state Reps. John Ray Clemmons and Bo Mitchell asked Lee to stop collecting the gas tax for 90 days.
Why it matters: Gas prices have increased dramatically over the last week, driven in part by tensions with Russia after the country invaded Ukraine.
- The average price for a gallon of regular gas in Tennessee reached $3.96 on Tuesday, according to data by AAA. That's a 50-cent increase week-over-week. Wednesday morning's average reached $4.05.
- On Tuesday, President Biden announced a ban on imports of Russian oil.
Driving the news: Clemmons and Mitchell wrote that suspending the state gas tax would be "a financial sacrifice by our state" that would help working families and "should prove to be a great investment in democracy abroad."
- The Democratic lawmakers said Lee could pursue a temporary gas tax moratorium through budget legislation, a standalone bill or "perhaps" via executive order.
- "We are uniquely positioned, as state leaders, to provide a bit of relief," Clemmons and Mitchell wrote.
Between the lines: Gas taxes in Tennessee go toward road projects. The lawmakers acknowledged the impact of a tax pause but said Tennessee has "ample resources to fill in any budgetary gaps that may be created."
State of play: A spokesperson in Lee's office tells Axios "we look forward to hearing details about the proposal."
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