Councilman proposes tax on gas to help Memphis budget

(WMC-TV) – A Memphis councilman is proposing a gas tax in order to help with the city's budget.

Councilman Edmund Ford is proposing a controversial one cent tax on gas prices at a time when many are already complaining that they are dropping big bucks at the pump.

"I think it's ridiculous 'cause you know, I mean, it's real inconvenient for a lot of people, you know?" said driver Alan Baldwin.

"One cent on gasoline would generate $3 million to go to public transportation," said Councilman Ford.

Ford wants to raise gas prices by one cent per gallon.

The issue would be presented to voters in the form of a referendum on the November ballot.

"If the voters pass this one cent this would take care of 15 percent of our total transportation operating costs," said Ford.

Last month, the latest Lundberg Survey found the Bluff City had the nation's lowest average price for a gallon of unleaded.

Even today Memphis prices remain lower than neighboring cities and states.

"If this one cent is passed we will still have the lowest gasoline in the nation," explained Ford.

Some drivers are not willing to pay even one penny more but some do support the idea.

"One cent not to bad and public transportation needs all the help it can get around here," said driver Gene Lee.

Ford hopes fellow council members will not put the brakes on his plan before voters get to weigh in.

Ford plans to introduce his plan to council members during committee meetings on Tuesday.

If the proposal makes it out of committee, the full council will hear their first reading on July 3.

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