Thursday, August 08, 2002

You Knew It Was Coming

We may have a new County Mayor who is skeptical of property tax increases, but the Shelby County Commission doesn't seem to share his hesitation. In today's Commercial Appeal, this story details the plans of the Commission to raise property taxes by 10 cents per $100, as well as "diverting" some wheel tax revenues.

The CA reports this:
The current county property tax rate is $3.79 per $100 of
assessed value. The owner of a $120,000 home (assessed value
of $30,000) pays $1,137 a year. A 10-cent rate increase would
raise that by $30 to $1,167 a year.
How many $120,000 homes do you know of that are that undervalued? What the real impact would be is closer to $120 per year additional. And, as the story notes, they increased taxes just last year! Now comes this new increase, which because it's only 10 cents will only require a simple majority Commission vote and not a super-majority. Well-planned.

But then comes this:
City and county schools already receive half the county's wheel
tax collections, which amount to a little more than $29 million a

Giving schools the other half - which is now used to pay off bonds
for school construction, roads and hospitals - could create a
deficit of up to $8 million for the county in 2004....
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Bill Morris' lasting legacy to Shelby County, the "temporary" wheel tax which is still with us and was doubled last year, supposed to be only for education?

After the latest round of slashing and digging into rainy day
funds, county school officials returned Wednesday with
projections that they would still be $9 million short, down from an
original $23 million deficit. City officials said they would be short
$21 million, down from an original $41 million.
Nice choice of words--"slashing." With combined budgets around $2 billion dollars, the $34 million saved amounts to 1.7%! Big "slash" there.

Hooks said he remains optimistic the full commission will approve
an increase and a redirection of wheel tax money. It will mean
unifying the Democratic bloc to get behind the increase, referring
to Chisholm's vote against the increase. And it will also take the
vote of at least one Republican.
Notice the point of view here, the Democratic majority that is assumed to support and vote for the increase. It requires "unifying" and getting the vote of one of those "other" people, Republicans. The story then goes on to identify and try to track down the two presumed Republicans who might vote for it.

Guess where the CA's sympathies lie.

Until next time, that is all.
Your Working Boy

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