Half-cent sales tax hike proposal returns - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Half-cent sales tax hike proposal returns

Posted: Updated:
  • News on WMCTV.comNewsMore>>

  • Woman dies after apparent hit-and-run

    Woman dies after apparent hit-and-run

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 1:13 PM EDT2014-07-23 17:13:57 GMT
    (Source: WMC Action News 5)(Source: WMC Action News 5)
    (WMC) - A vehicle crashed into a person walking on Beechmont Street near Portland Avenue. Memphis firefighters and police officers responded to calls about a hit-and-run around 3:30 p.m. Memphis policeMore >>
    A woman has died after a vehicle crashed into her while she was walking on Beechmont Street near Portland Avenue.
    More >>
  • Police investigate deadly shooting near airport

    Police investigate deadly shooting near airport

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 1:05 PM EDT2014-07-23 17:05:38 GMT
    (WMC) – Memphis police received a call about a possible shooting in the 3500 block of Tchulahoma Road, near Winchester Road, just before 3 a.m. on Wednesday. WMC Action News 5 crews are there and sayMore >>
    Memphis police are investigating a deadly shooting in the 3500 block of Tchulahoma Road, near Winchester Road. Police received the call just before 3 a.m. on Wednesday.
    More >>
  • SCS begins new teacher orientation

    SCS begins new teacher orientation

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 1:03 PM EDT2014-07-23 17:03:38 GMT
    It's a sign that summer break is almost over and school is ready to begin… This morning 100's of new Shelby county teachers showed up at Bellevue Baptist church for theirMore >>
    It's a sign that summer break is almost over and school is ready to begin as hundreds of new Shelby County teachers showed up at Bellevue Baptist Church for their first orientation.
    More >>
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - The November election referendum to increase Shelby County sales taxes failed.

Now, Memphis leaders are pushing for a sales tax hike of their own.

And for some, it's a hard sell.

A half-cent sales tax hike proposal is back on the table to lower Memphis property taxes and close the pre-K gap for 4,500 students now doing without.

"This is win, win, win all around," said Memphis Mayor A C Wharton.

The debate drew Wharton from his seventh floor office and sent a team of Urban Child Institute experts into an hour-long pitch to sell the idea of pre-K for all to the City Council.

"I certainly support, Mr. Mayor, doing the best for our children, but where are these statistics coming from?" said Memphis Councilwoman Janis Fullilove.

As a former defense attorney, the mayor said he knows first-hand.

"If anybody needs an expert on what are the consequences of not having these children ready to learn when they get to kindergarten or Head Start or to the first grade, I can tell you," said Wharton.

The Urban Child Institute said pre-K students are up to 176 percent more proficient than non-pre-k children.

Council members questioned why the sales tax hike would work now, when the countywide sales tax hike failed in November.

"There were mixed messages. We blew it and got what we deserved," said Wharton.

Other council members said the school system can't keep up with kindergartners, so how could pre-K work?

"A kindergartner can't get him or herself to school. That has to be a parent issue. We need to figure out how to work that first," said Memphis Councilman Harold Collins.

Supporters said the sales tax hike would reduce property taxes by $20 million and put $27 million into pre-K.

They said the money would be placed into a pre-K fund so no one dips into the money for other uses.

If the council approves this, it could end up being put on the ballot in a special election.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.
Powered by WorldNow