New talk of sales tax referendum - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

New talk of sales tax referendum

(WMC-TV) – The talk of a sales tax increase referendum is expected to headline the Memphis City Council meeting tomorrow. Voters rejected it in 2012, but it could be back at the polls later this year.

"It's a sales tax referendum so the public would vote on it either in August or September," said Jim Strickland, Memphis city Councilman.

Strickland discussed a possible sales tax increase during his budget committee hearing Tuesday. And if is approved, it will increase the sales tax in Memphis a half percent.

Here's the new pitch this year - a half percent sales tax increase that would put the total sale tax at 9.75 percent in the city of Memphis.

And $27 million would go to establish a pre kindergarten program. Another $20 million would go to reduce the property tax rate.

Strickland says the sales tax referendum would confront three big issues holding Memphis back.

Education and property tax rates would be addressed directly and indirectly he says the referendum addresses the crime issue.

"If every third of fourth grader could read at their grade level…and if we have more people who graduate high school and go onto college I think in the long run I think our crime rate will be reduced," he said in a phone interview.

If this referendum is approved by the Memphis City Council and put in front of voters you can expect opposition to the tax increase to be vocal - demanding more spending cuts and more of a reduction in the size of government instead of tax referendums.

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