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Legal Updates

Gov. Haslam Expands His IMPROVE Act

Legislative Update - Tennessee General Assembly
Gov. Haslam expanded his IMPROVE Act this week. He amended the act to allow local referendums on surcharges to existing local taxes as a means to pay for public transit projects. The new surcharge options apply to local property tax, business tax, motor vehicle tax, local rental car tax, tourist accommodation tax, residential development tax, and local tourist development zone business tax. The taxing authority would be extended to all county governments in Tennessee, as well as the state's four biggest cities: Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga, and Knoxville. Originally, the act only allowed for an increase on local sales tax rates to fund transportation projects. All roads lead to Rome.
In its weekly meeting, the House Transportation Subcommittee was set to hear numerous gas tax bills, including Gov. Haslam's proposal, BUT things didn't go as planned. Rep. David Hawk presented legislation to the committee pertaining to annual reports on revenue generated from the tax on the sale of food. Hawk explained this revenue should be used to help fund transportation projects. Rep. John Mark Windle offered a verbal amendment to the bill to exclude the sales tax on baby formula, but the amendment was denied by Chairwoman Terri Lynn Weaver. Windle then abruptly called for adjournment of the meeting. According to House rules, any motion to adjourn must be voted on immediately, without debate. The motion to adjourn passed by a 5-3 vote. The committee is set to hear the proposals again next week. Road block.