Guess Who Didn't Get the Memo
Linda Moore, the Commercial Appeal's "Wise Consumer" columnist doesn't seem to have gotten on board with the income tax thing. Her column of last Friday, contains a few inconvenient facts regarding the effects of the increased sales tax.
That one-cent increase isn't a huge amount of money.
A wise woman told me once: "If a penny will break you you're
So, a penny won't break the bank, it won't break a lot of
spending patterns and it won't cause most people to make a
break for the stores in Mississippi or Arkansas.
Uh-oh. Where's she going with this? Moore's column asks about the effect the sales tax increase will have on business development. Her conclusion? Not much.
"I don't think it would drive a deal," said Gary Myers, of Gary
Myers Co., a commercial real estate brokerage firm.
In talking with local developers, she writes that it is population and traffic that drives location more than anything else. She also points out that there still is not a regional mall near Memphis, but outside the county or state. But, she does drop this ominous hint:
Reportedly, Tennessee isn't likely to see broad tax reform for at
least four years.
Both Republican and Democratic gubernatorial front-runners have
made anti-income tax pledges.
And many income tax leaders in the House and Senate are
leaving the legislature. (Some may argue that an income tax is
not the only form of tax reform.)
Oh my! Is she really off the reservation.
She does, however, make the same misconception about this year's income tax defeat that most newspaper reporters and columnists have made--that no reform will take place in Tennessee until the next governor is driven from office by the forces of righteousness in four years.
This Fall is likely to see a tidal wave of new legislators with one imperative--to change the way Tennessee's government does business. Our onerous sales tax rate is due to drop next summer (a fact little-reported by the press and media). Real change has to happen this year to avoid a repeat of this summer. Expect to see, this year, real efforts to rein in State spending and vociferous efforts by Democrats and IT-lackey Republicans to stop it. Also expect to see Senator Person's crusade gather steam, as legislators try to find hidden monies to put to use.
Back to the column. Moore points out:
Regardless of the tax situation, [a Mississippi] mall would draw from
Tennessee and from the Mississippians to the south, who now
drive to Memphis's Wolfchase Galleria, Myers said.
Did the Commercial Appeal fight the development of the Galleria? Of course not, as it would become a major advertiser in the paper. Even though it effectively killed the Mall of Memphis, and hobbled efforts at Hickory Ridge Mall and Southland Mall.
Basically, Moore's column calls the temporary sales tax increase a wash, as far as mall development is concerned, and of slight impact for smaller strip malls and stores. And she doesn't provide any data on sales lost through cross-border shopping. Ah well....
Until next time, that is all.