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Tennessee Gov. Lee is considering tripling electric vehicle fees, adding fast-track toll lanes

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Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee is considering allowing freeway toll lanes and tripling tolls for electric vehicle owners as he targets his first big push after winning re-election — paying tens of billions of dollars in road projects.

The Republican insists on what he will not do: raise the gas tax. add full toll roads; Or issuing debt instead of the pay-as-you-go method of financing.

Timing, Lee says, is critical to quickly shifting onto the roads. With Tennessee’s rapid growth and truck traffic, state transportation officials say $26 billion in projects are needed to address worsening congestion, only $3.6 billion of which is planned under A big criticism on the roads by my predecessor. Officials also say the projects are taking so long — 15 years on average — that they are over budget by 40%.

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Like other states, current funding of roads in Tennessee through gas taxes is looking less reliable as more people switch to fuel-efficient cars and electric vehicles. Tennessee has also become a center for electric vehicle production, highlighted by Ford’s upcoming massive electric vehicle project with a partner company’s battery plant.

Lee will need Republican representatives on board to get much of what he wants. This includes opening the way for private companies to bid to build new highway lanes and charging tolls for profit. Lawmakers will also need to agree to increase the annual fee for owning an electric vehicle from $100 to $300.

Transportation Commissioner Butch Ely has stated that any rapid transit toll lanes will be newly built, and will not convert existing carpool lanes into toll lanes. Across the country, five states have rapid transit lanes, 10 states have shared car lanes that allow others to join at a price, and some have both, according to a February 2021 report from the Federal Highway Administration.

Driver eligibility and pricing policy can be controlled by the state, which can go down or up based on current crowding, while charging only those who want a faster ride. A private company designs, builds, finances, operates and maintains the trails.

“There is nothing, I think, more equitable than paying people for what they use,” Eli told reporters Thursday.

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The $300 electric car fee may be the most expensive in the country. As of July, 31 states had similar annual fees, ranging from $50 in Colorado to $225 in Washington, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Eli says the increase better reflects what electric vehicle drivers will pay in federal and state gas taxes.

However, Lee said officials may or may not settle for $300.

“We want to make sure that there are fair fees for everyone,” Lee told reporters. “We’ll find out what that number is and move on.”

Vehicle taxes are mixed state by state. Some charge property taxes and annual inspection fees, for example. Tennessee has phased out the last required vehicle test and does not tax personal property.

Democratic Senate Minority Leader Jeff Yarbrough said he will wait for Lee’s strategy details, hoping to hear about everything from roadworks to mass transit.

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“I look forward to learning more and speaking to the governor because there has been a lot of focus on highways in the state,” said the Nashville Rep. “But the country needs a transportation strategy, not just a highway plan.”

Lee’s sweeping road push, which also calls for pay increases for transit workers and other expansions in public-private partnerships, comes after former Republican Gov. Bill Hasan struck a deal during a drawn-out battle over his 2017 plan. $0.20 to $0.26 per gallon over three years and raised the diesel rate as well, among other changes that partially lowered separate taxes.

My boost comes after the passing of President Joe Biden Infrastructure law. However, the governor’s transportation team said Tennessee’s five-year building plan was up about $1.7 billion under the law, saying that’s not a significant influx of funding.

Meanwhile, railroad expansion is not part of Lee’s immediate plans. The concept has been hotly debated in Nashville, where a light-rail ballot failed in 2018, toppled by opposition to tax increases and fears that it might accelerate gentrification that drove some low-income people out of their communities. Ely said the state will continue to look at railroad possibilities in the future.

In the GOP-led legislature, House Speaker Cameron Sexton and Senate Speaker Randy McNally said they are taking a deep dive into how to fund transportation infrastructure.

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They will have plenty of work to do when lawmakers return for their annual legislative session in January. For example, Sexton mentioned railways as a topic that needs to be discussed.

“We have to have honest discussions about the infrastructure in our state to solve the problem of traffic congestion,” Sexton said. “This should include expanding rail access, shortening the decades-long timetable for road construction, and also looking at fast lanes on our highways in very congested areas.”

___

Nashville-based Kimberly Crossi contributed to this report.

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Commuters from the Southwest threatened arrest at Christmas in a viral video

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Southwest Airlines He already had it Terrible end of the year After a massive winter storm forced it to cancel flights that had outsold its industry competitors. Then, somehow, the PR nightmare got worse.

At Nashville International Airport on Christmas Eve, a police officer threatened to arrest stranded Southwest passengers if they did not leave a secure area of ​​the airport. A video of the incident went viral on social media after it happened Posted by passenger to TikTok. Other videos circulating on social media also captured parts of the incident.

In the video, which has been viewed more than 910,000 times since it was posted two days ago, the officer warns passengers that they must leave the area or they will be “arrested for trespassing.”

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“Now,” he continued. “Everyone to the unsafe side. The ticket counter will help you answer any questions you have.”

Shelly Morrison, who was among the passengers with her three daughters, was queuing at the southwest gate hoping to get more information about what was going on with her flight, to me the Tennessee.

After she and others waited nearly an hour for an explanation, one of the workers announced via the intercom that she was leaving – and called security. Morrison told the local newspaper that he did not tell a passenger that they had to leave if they had a canceled ticket.

“The Southwest is calling us”

Soon, two police officers from the airport’s Department of Public Safety arrived at the scene, just as Morrison’s daughter, Amani Robinson, began recording a video.

An officer tells passengers in the video, “If you don’t have a ticket, you don’t have to be on the safe side.” To someone who said they had tickets, he replied, “Your tickets just got cancelled.”

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Morrison asked the officer again if he might be stopped, and he repeated to him: “If you don’t have a valid ticket and you’re on the safe side and you refuse to leave, you’ll be arrested… If your ticket’s canceled, they don’t have a ticket anymore. You understand that, right?”

He added, “Right now, Southwest is calling us because you guys are congregating here, and they’re trying to close that gate.”

The officer grew impatient when Morrison again tried to “establish a legal connection,” as she puts it in the video, and told him she was an attorney.

“Do you refuse to leave the safe side?” he asked clearly.

She replied, “No, I don’t refuse to leave.” “I ask for additional information. Can you mention the statue to me?”

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He replied, “It is the security of airports and planes.”

“Don’t you have a department?” she asked.

“I don’t need to give you the code. If you’re a lawyer, you can look it up.”

Morrison thanked him and went with the others to where he had indicated.

Southwest responds

when called luckA Southwest spokesperson said that employees “did not request that customers be escorted outside the gate area.” Instead, the company required “that local law enforcement be present at the gate to assist with crowd control efforts while our team works with customers.”

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A spokesperson for Nashville International Airport, also known by the airport code BNA, responded:

“The sheer number of flight cancellations over the past week has caused great stress for our passengers, and included an unfortunate incident involving a passenger, airline staff and an LNA officer. We are very sorry this happened and we take this situation very seriously. We are working with Southwest Airlines and our other airlines to promote better communication between team members so that every traveler enjoys the optimal experience at BNA:

luck She also contacted the Ministry of Transport regarding the airport incident, but did not receive any immediate response.

Southwest passengers trying alternative routes faced higher fares from other airlines, some of which — faced public backlash —Announce a price cap on the affected roads.

The Department of Transportation said this week it would open an investigation into Southwest Airlines. He. She he wrote in a tweet It was “concerned by Southwest’s unacceptable rate of cancellations, delays, and reports of a lack of prompt customer service. The department will study whether cancellations are manageable and whether Southwest is complying with its customer service plan.”

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This article has been updated with responses from Southwest Airlines and the airport.

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Why Trump didn’t want you to see his tax returns

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What was he hiding?

We’re finally starting to find out, now that the House Ways and Means Committee has released six years of Donald Trump’s personal and business tax returns. Trump’s returns are complex and it could take weeks for experts to realize whether Trump cheated or used overly aggressive tactics to lower his tax bill. The committee did not release any tax documents for some of Trump’s business entities, so puzzles may remain.

But a few things soon emerge from the assessment of the leading figures in Trump’s comeback. When Trump announced his candidacy for the presidency in 2015, he described himself as a builder and businessman who could go to Washington and fix what politicians had destroyed. Trump’s stated status was as a political outsider and business titan crucial elements in his appeal to voters.

But Trump’s tax returns suggest his businesses are always losing money, while raising questions about how he manages to fund a gilded lifestyle. In each of the six years from 2015 through 2020, DJT Holdings, one of Trump’s main business entities, lost millions of dollars. The smallest loss was $34 million in 2015. The largest loss was $64 million in 2016. Combined, these losses totaled $314 million from 2015 through 2020.

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This is not an entirely new revelation. Glimpses of Trump’s finances have long revealed that Trump is capitalizing heavily on losses incurred in one part of his business portfolio, to offset gains elsewhere and significantly reduce his tax bill. Documents leaked to the New York Times in 2016 showed that Trump declared a loss of $916 million in 1995. lowered his tax bills for nearly two decades. When Trump began earning millions from The Apprentice TV show in the 2000s, losses from faltering real estate ventures, such as his casinos in Atlantic City, helped keep his income tax payments down. These practices are generally legal, although some tax experts believe Trump could have expanded the legal boundaries.

Members of the US House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee move boxes of documents after a panel meeting to discuss former President Donald Trump’s tax returns on Capitol Hill in Washington, US, December 20, 2022. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

When Trump ran for president in 2016, he said he would release his tax returns once the IRS finished auditing them. Of course Trump never released any tax returns, and the IRS audit wouldn’t have stopped him from doing so in the first place. Ways and Means Committee Finally got Trump’s payout from the IRS on Dec. 20, after Trump lost a four-year legal battle to keep them secret. He found justices all the way up to the Supreme Court Congress had the right to see the proceedsbecause it can contribute to legislative activity.

[Follow Rick Newman on Twitter, sign up for his newsletter or sound off.]

If Trump had released his comeback in 2015 while running for president in 2016, journalists and political opponents would have been mired in what appears to be huge business and personal losses. His return to DJT Holdings shows total revenue of $25.1 million but a net loss of $34.1 million. It is reasonable for a company to incur losses greater than revenue, since tax code allows for carry-over losses from prior years. But it’s very bad looks to tell voters you’re a business owner while reporting large losses to the IRS.

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Trump and his wife Melania’s 2015 comeback undermines his commercial credibility. Trump’s adjusted gross income in 2015 was $31.8 million. In other words, he supposedly lost $31.8 million, because he was allowed to claim losses from his business against his personal income. His taxable income was $0 and he owed $0 in federal income tax. It is difficult for average workers who earn most of their income from work to declare passive income, unless they have capital losses or other types of losses beyond what they earn from their employer.

Hillary Clinton, Trump’s Democratic opponent, She released her tax return for 2015 on August 12, 2016. The report showed that she and her husband, Bill Clinton, had an adjusted gross income of $10.6 million, and paid $3.6 million in federal income tax, for an effective tax rate of 34%. While the return showed the Clintons wealthy, they claimed no mysterious tax breaks except for a small capital loss of $3,000. Trump was the nominee going after meat-and-potatoes voters in 2016, but Clinton’s taxes were more involved.

DJT Holdings reported business losses for each of the next five years, through 2020. In terms of Trump’s personal returns, his adjusted gross income has been negative for three years and positive for two years. Over the six years combined, those business losses have pushed Trump’s total adjusted income – $53.2 million, or a loss of $53.2 million. His taxable income was $0 for four out of six years.

Trump has hit one snag with regard to federal income tax payments — the alternative minimum tax, which raises the tax liability of some, mostly wealthy, depositors who use the deductions to significantly lower their taxable income. During four of those six years, the federal tax code started to push Trump’s federal tax bill. Including regular income tax and AMT payments, Trump appears to have paid about $4.1 million in federal income taxes from 2015 through 2020.

If voters had been able to see several years of Trump’s tax returns during the 2020 presidential election, it would have been clear that Trump’s corporations lose money every year and that Trump as an individual loses more money than he earns, overall. This isn’t really how it works. Trump has very few regular sources of income, such as millions of dollars in interest each year, and the capital gains that would come from the countless deals to license the Trump name. This income appears to be constant and recurring, while losses may occur in a particular year or two, but are spread across many years, for tax purposes.

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Trump has sometimes bragged about the low taxes he’s paid, saying he’s drastically undercutting his tax bill It makes him smart. Maybe so. It will be interesting to see if that makes him more or less electable.

Rick Newman is a senior columnist for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @tweet

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Chinese education files Ruanyun Edai to raise up to $35 million via US IPO (pending: RYET)

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Chinese education technology Ruanyun Edai Technology (Rhett) Apply to raise up to $35 million through an initial public offering in the United States.

Ruanyun said in file that she was considering offering 5 million common shares at between $5 and $6 a share, which might happen

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