Council members say city residents double taxed for schools - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Council members say city residents double taxed for schools

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Now that the city has the green light to put $78.3 million into the pot for Memphis City Schools, the Memphis City Council must come up with a way to come up with the cash.

"We could potentially do it all through reserve funding and just see what comes in the next year, or we could issue it all as a school tax bill and wipe out the tax decrease we gave last year," Council member Shea Flinn said.
   
Amid a court clash over who should pay for schools, the two sides compromised.  But Councilman Shea Flinn and Council Chair Harold Collins say the real issue is double taxation.

"We've already paid our property taxes to the county for educating all of our children anyway," Collins said.

Yet Memphians pay again for city schools on their city tax bill.

"Memphians are paying twice for a service that everyone else is paying once," Flinn said. "Germantown, Lakeland, Arlington, Bartlett they all pay for county schools on their county tax bill."

Council members say no other city in all of Tennessee pays twice and the repercussions go beyond a tax increase. 

According to Flinn, "Next year either the size of government is going to have to go down dramatically," or you'll see a real tax increase again.

"The answer should be single-source funding, recognizing that Shelby County is the required agent to fund education for all students in Shelby County," Collins added.

Both Council members said this is about the children, because it's about equity for Memphians.

You may recall, the council just cut taxes so, as early as this Fall, it could seem as if we never had a cut at all.  We're still waiting for a judge to rule who should pay for schools, and a committee will soon have to decide how to pay the money.

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