Lawmakers talk about property tax raises - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Joyce Peterson

Lawmakers talk about property tax raises

Local lawmakers are in a bind.  Shelby County is $1.5 BILLION dollars in debt.  And *both* school systems...city and county...must slash millions from next year's budget.   The solution?  "Don't put another property tax on the senior citizens and those who can't afford it in this community."  State Representative Carol Chumney says raising property taxes is *not* the way to go.  She says the Shelby County Commission should pass:  A new development tax, and an impact fee.  Taxes paid by developers...so communities...tax payers...don't foot the bill for suburban growth.  According to the Tennessee Comptroller's Office...those two taxes could generate $100 million dollars.  Money to build new schools and to pay down the county's debt.  A lot of cities...including Nashville...already have development fees.  "Why is our community so special? That we would rather tax senior citizens who can't afford prescription drugs, before developers would be taxed like they are in other cities?"   Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton suggested something similar earlier this week.  Such a plan would take approval by the county commission...and lawmakers in Nashville.  Representative Chumney says it's do-able!  "I'll take it to the legislature and work hard to get votes from the delegation to pass a private act so we can have this in our community and avoid a property tax."  "Critics say impact fees will stall future growth and development. But county commissioners already have a study in their hands...that says these taxes don't *hurt*...they *help*!

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