Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Mayor Barry warns of 'fiscal challenges' for next city budget. Does this sound like a good time to increase Nashville's sales tax to the highest in the nation?

These are the "challenges:"

  • Fund balances for each of the six tax funds are at or are projected to be below policy targets at the end of fiscal year 2017-2018 and those fund balance reserves must be increased; 
  • Escalating health care costs combined with the Tennessee General Assembly not acting to expand Medicaid; 
  • Property tax appeals following last year’s reappraisal far exceeded the level of appeals after the last two reappraisals, and the full impact to revenues will not be known until the end of this fiscal year;
  • There will be further reductions in revenue from the state Hall tax on certain investment income, which the state legislature has voted phase out; 
  • After a couple of years of acceleration, revenue growth in the six tax funds is returning to normal levels; Increased debt service requirements
Does this sound like a good time to increase Nashville's sales tax to the highest in the nation?  Does this seem like a good time to take on $8.9 Billion in debt? While Nashville is a hot convention destination, once conventions visit Nashville once, they may visit Nashville less in future years as an increase in the Sales Tax, the Hotel-Motel Tax and the car rental tax makes Nashville an expensive convention city. Las Vegas might look more attractive.

This year, I am not going to be surprised at all if Mayor Barry proposes a property tax increase. If so it needs to be resisted and instead the city needs to cut waste including closing General Hospital.

The next time the city goes after bringing a business like Amazon to town and wants to "incentivize" them for coming hear, ask "why?' I for one, don't want more growth. I do not understand the fetish for getting bigger and bigger. Growth does not pay for itself. Bigger cities are more expensive cities with higher tax burdens, and less affordable housing and more traffic congestion.  I am please that we have grown over the years, but there is an optimal size and I think we passed it about three years ago. 

So, reject the tax for tracks plan, stop corporate welfare to attract new companies coming to town, close General Hospital, actually build some sidewalks but stop wasting millions on thinking about it, tighten our belts, restore the reserve funds, put up the not welcome sign and pull up the draw bridge. 

To read The Tennessean story, follow this link.

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