Suggested tax hike killed by Memphis City Council - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Suggested tax hike killed by Memphis City Council

By Jason Miles

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV)-Memphis Mayor A C Wharton was not disappointed following an emergency meeting Wednesday night of the Memphis City Council.
"If I have to take some flack for suggesting we raise taxes to support schools," said Wharton.  "Hey, that comes with the territory.".
His "suggestion" to implement a $.31property tax hike to help meet a court-ordered financial obligation to city schools was killed by all but one city council member in attendance.

"A 31 cent tax increase would be almost a 10 percent increase for Memphians, and I just cannot support that," said councilman Jim Strickland.

"We've already started to receive E-mail, as I'm sure you have, saying don't raise any taxes," councilman Bill Boyd told the mayor.

The suggestion was never really Wharton's to make.  The decision on funding lies solely with the council.  But the new mayor told those who showed up to listen that he simply wanted to expedite a solution.

"We're trying to find the most practical way to move the ball down the field," Wharton told the council.

The council ended its two hour meeting by proposing a plan to take $30 million from the city's rainy day fund, cut another $10 million from the budget by the end of February, and offset another $10 million from what the city believes it is already owed by the school district.

"The least painful cuts for city employees that don't affect city services, and I'm willing to make the decisions," said councilman Kemp Conrad. 

Wharton told us he's willing to do whatever it takes.

"We have an obligation to schools and I want that to always stand," said Wharton.

The council will make a final decision on the funding plan in a couple of weeks.  The mayor said nothing is sacred when it comes to the cuts he will propose.

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