Memphians could face one-time tax - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphians could face one-time tax

Remember that one-time, Memphis schools tax increase you were supposed to pay? Well it was never collected. And now that tax may soon be levied and you might have to pay up by summer. Remember that one-time, Memphis schools tax increase you were supposed to pay? Well it was never collected. And now that tax may soon be levied and you might have to pay up by summer.

(WMC-TV) - Depending on the outcome of Tuesday's city council meeting, you could get an extra tax bill in your mailbox. That extra bill would be due June 30.

Councilman Jim Strickland has misgivings about revisiting a one-time school tax that is back on the agenda Tuesday.

"We lose a half-percent of our population every year," he said. "I think between crime, schools and taxes, that's why people are leaving and we need to stop that."

The council actually approved the one-time, 18 cent tax last year, but the city never collected it.

Strickland voted against it then.

Now, he's the council's budget committee chairman and after sitting in on budget talks, his position has not changed.

"Last year, I was the only council member to vote against the tax increase," he said. "I think you'll have additional people this year vote against it."

He said fellow council members have announced that their positions have changed because the city gave employees bonuses last Christmas.

"This year we're $17 million in the hole," he said. "Next year we're $47 million in the hole. It was just very unwise to give out $6 million in bonuses."

The city originally proposed the one-time tax to pay off debt to Memphis City Schools.

That's because in 2008, the council cut taxes by 18 cents to give Memphians a property tax break.

Strickland said the best way to solve the dilemma is budget cuts which cost people their jobs.

"What we have to do is go through the budget line item by line item," he said. "And if we have to lay off some people, we have to lay off some people."

He said the council is also anxious to hear why the tax was never collected when they approved it last year.

Though the city is no longer required to fund city schools due to the merger with county schools, the actual payments do not end until 2013.

For that reason, Strickland anticipates this one-time tax could come up again next year.

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