MPA, MFA push to raise city sales tax to fund public safety

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis Police Association said it is working with Memphis Fire Fighters Association to formally propose a half-cent increase in the city's sales tax rate to fund public safety.

This would take the city's sales tax from 9.25 to 9.75 percent.

Memphis City Council could pass an ordinance to put a referendum on the ballot, but that's not expected.

MPA said it is working to formalize a signature-gathering campaign and would need 10 percent of registered voters in Memphis to sign in order to get the issue on the ballot in November.

"This is the best way we can come up with that spreads the burden over the largest number of people that will have the least impact on the citizens of Memphis and yet provide the biggest bang for their buck," said Matt Cunningham, MPA Negotiation Team Leader.

MPA hopes for the measure to bring in at least $35 million to restore cuts to retiree pension and health benefits for city employees from 2015.

MPA said the signature campaign will be very visible in the summer months, and their estimates show the impact on a family's annual grocery bill would be about $50.

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