Sunday, August 11, 2002

What's Really Going On?

The lead editorial in Sunday's Commercial Appeal argues against the proposed property tax rise to be voted on tomorrow by the Shelby County Commission. Their central argument is that the present Commission is a lame duck, and therefore any action they take carries a taint of illegitimacy. The CA thinks the Commission should wait for the new members to join next month before taking action.

Generally, that's a good point. But given that the vote tomorrow is expected to go 7-6 or 8-5 against, and that the next Commission is perceived to be even more skeptical of tax increases, I wonder what's really going on in the CA's editorial offices.

The rise is only ten cents per one hundred dollars valuation. That number is important because it merely requires a simple majority to pass. Larger increases require a 9 vote majority. It's possible that the CA doesn't want this Commission to take such a penny-ante action, which will be hard enough to sell given the large increase voted in last year, but rather hopes they wait so that the CA can gin up the community to the need for even larger increases.

Getting a property tax increase from the new Commission will be tough. The Republican majority will be more conservative than before and far more skeptical of increasing any tax. Is it possible that the CA is hoping to hobble the new Commission with an intransigent image, an "anti-regular-folks-like-us" brand that can then be pointed to whenever they go against the wishes of the CA's editors? That they hope to make this a weapon to use against the Commission for the next four years?

Could be....

Until next time, that is all.
Your Working Boy

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