House, Senate speakers at odds over gas tax increase in 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – While Gov. Bill Haslam is traveling the state to discuss transportation funding needs facing Tennessee, top legislative Republicans are at odds over whether to consider a gas tax hike in 2016.

House Speaker Beth Harwell said Thursday that there isn’t an appetite in the General Assembly to enact the first gas tax hike in 25 years. But fellow Republican and Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey said the state shouldn’t “kick the can down the road” on road funding issues, and that a gas tax will likely be part of a proposal before lawmakers next session.

Ramsey said the issue is clouded by political considerations of potential gubernatorial candidates. Harwell is among those considering a bid.

Haslam is waiting until the end of his 15-stop tour to make a specific funding proposal.