Saturday, August 10, 2002

Don't Start Counting Those Chickens Just Yet

John Branston, writing in the Memphis Flyer, argues that large tax windfalls await Shelby County Mayor AC Wharton. Not so fast.

First, he says that total tax windfalls might net $7.3 million by 2007. Unfortunately, that's not even the budget shortfall the City Schools are claiming for this year. Branston also goes on to point out that most of the valuations the tax freezes were based on were when the downtown was a ghost town. Today, property values have soared, and so, argues Branston, will tax revenues.

That's true, but he misses one very obvious corollary: What company is going to sit there and allow this to happen? They can always move, knowing when their deadlines are coming. Or, and more likely, they can appeal to the City to extend or renew the tax freezes, threatening to leave.

There's also this: No company is going to pay those taxes, they will be passed on to customer, or in the case of apartments, renters. He mentions the Rivermark Apartments, which will be facing an $83,000 tax increase. That translates into a hefty rent increase for tenants.

Remember, governments can tax anything and everything they want to, but the money always comes from the same place. Your pocket.

Until next time, that is all.
Your Working Boy

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