Shelby County tax hike - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

As Election Day approaches, debate continues over tax increase

(WMC-TV) - Less than a week from election and both sides are fighting for your vote in the proposed sales tax increase.

One of the biggest issues on the November ballot, a half cent sales take hike in Memphis and parts of unincorporated Shelby County

Mark Sturgis is with Stand For Children a group supporting the sale tax hike.

"These funds will allow us to do it to be fully funded and fully enrolled Pre-K programs in Shelby County," he said.

The half cent hike would bring the sales tax in Memphis from 9.25 to 9.75 percent generating about $60 million, half of which will go to the unified school district.

The other half will be distributed among municipal school districts in the suburbs if they are allowed to move forward.

In August the municipalities all passed half cent sales tax hikes to pay for new school districts now the rest of the county will decide next week.

"We think it is in line with the democratic platform. We don't think it is contradictory to the republican platform but we think it is in line with our goals of social justice," said Shelby County Democratic Party spokesperson Jake Brown.

Brown said making our children and the future of this country is a priority in moving forward.

Those against this sales tax hike said the unified school board doesn't have a budget and voters aren't getting the entire truth.

"When it's time to close schools and lay off custodians I won't have the money to say let's keep those schools open why because we earmarked it for PRE-K it's a false positive and it's really misleading," said School Board Commissioner Dr. Kenneth Whalum , Jr.

"Make those tough decisions and then come back and say here's what we need here's our budget. But don't put the cart before the horse which is definitely what's happening," Shelby County Commissioner Chris Thomas.

"Don't put the cart before the horse which is definitely what's happening and that's why Mayor Luttrell vetoed it," said Thomas.

However, Voters will have the final say on election day.


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