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Gov. Lee has 'no definitive plans' to issue executive order halting Tennessee's gas tax

Two lawmakers called on the governor to put a 90-day moratorium on the collection of gas and diesel taxes amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee spoke with reporters Monday afternoon where he said there are "no definitive plans" to issue an executive order implementing a moratorium on the state's gas tax.

Last week, two lawmakers called on the governor to put a 90-day moratorium on the collection of gas and diesel taxes amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the rising cost of fuel.

Lee claimed the state has been experiencing rises at the pump "ever since we stopped pipelines, stopped drilling, stopped pursuing an energy independence policy in this country." He says he's looking at proposals to find a way to lower taxes for Tennesseans.

"We'll look at proposals, but what we need to do—and I've been working with governors across the country—is to reach out to the federal administration and say 'Here's what needs to be done,'" Lee said Monday. "We need to reinstitute energy policies that take the burden off of Americans for higher energy prices."

Nashville representatives John Ray Clemmons and Bo Mitchell joined efforts calling on Lee to issue the moratorium, calling it a "temporary sacrifice."

Tennessee's gas tax brings in roughly $9 million into state coffers each year. Rep. Mitchell says the mortarium would put about $224 million back into the pockets of taxpayers recovering from the pandemic.

"We have the money," Clemmons said. "Our state has over-collected $1.8 billion in sales tax since August in this fiscal year. We're sitting on a rainy day fund of $1.55 billion."

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