Mayoral race, tax increase top issues for election day

Tax increase on election day ballot

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Thursday is election day in the City of Memphis. And while several races on the ballot are catching people’s attention, a sales tax referendum has been a top talking point.

It would be a half-cent increase in sales tax in Memphis.

Memphis police and fire unions said it would restore benefits to officers and firefighters lost a few years ago.

Memphis Police Association President Mike Williams said the increase would cost an average family about $40 per year, and any extra money would go toward Pre-K and paving roads.

However, some members of Memphis City Council and Shelby County Commission have asked voters to vote no on the referendum.

Councilman Kemp Conrad said the city is already hiring more officers and paying them more, and the tax increase wouldn't cover rising healthcare and pension costs.

MPA said the referendum would help hire more officers.

Memphis mayoral race comes to head

The Memphis Mayoral race is also at top of mind with incumbent mayor Jim Strickland, former mayor Willie Herenton and Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer as the top candidates.

The candidates have discussed crime as a hot button issue. Herenton criticized Strickland, saying he's not keeping a promise to reduce crime.

Stickland's campaign said it's Herenton's administration that let crime get out of hand, and he's now fixing what's left to him.

Sawyer said both Herenton and Strickland have to be held accountable.

There's been a share of controversy around the race as well.

In the last month, nearly 10 year old tweets by Sawyer came to light where she used homophobic and anti-disability language.

Strickland has been criticized for an ad where he said he's hired 450 police officers since taking office. While true, the net gain is just 28 officers given department attrition.

This week, Herenton posted a video saying he would have never taken down Memphis' Confederate statues.

Polls open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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