(WMC) - A proposal to cut taxes for Shelby County residents was struck down by a county commission committee on Wednesday.
Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell proposed one tax cut for Memphians and a greater tax cut for those living outside of the city. The Shelby Co. Commission did not approve the cut, but the debate is far from over.
"I kind of regret that we had two ordinances competing in that sense," said Luttrell.
Wednesday's County Commission agenda had dueling tax rate proposals.
One was supported by Mayor Luttrell and the other was drawn up by Commissioner Steve Mulroy.
"It would be a one penny reduction for those inside the city," explained the mayor. "It would be a five-cent reduction outside the city limits."
Mulroy proposed that everyone get the one-cent property tax cut.
People outside of Memphis currently pay higher taxes to pay off the cost to build Arlington High School in 2004.
Some commissioners want to use $2.8 million in sales taxes to pay off that suburban school debt, but Mulroy proposed putting that money into pre-K instead.
"This extra $2.8 million that we have in recurring funds should not be used to lower the tax rate of those people who live outside the city of Memphis," said Mulroy. "We could add another 26 or so pre-K classrooms. It's an urgent need."
Other commissioners feel municipal and Shelby County Schools have enough on their plate with the merger and de-merger of city and county schools.
"I'm not saying we shouldn't move towards universal pre-K at some time. I just don't think that time is today," said Shelby County Commissioner Steve Basar.
The committee voted down the pre-K idea and also voted down both property tax rate proposals.
"It was the first reading on the tax rate. It's still got a lot of discussion to go," added Luttrell.
The commission will meet on Monday to make a final decision.