Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Mayor Proposes Tax Increases In Exclusive Speech To Chamber of Commerce & Metro Council Free Riders

As a property owner, I'm not opposed in principle to a property tax increase to help fund schools. Our public schools require funding, and how else can we assure our children a quality education?

But two things about the "State of Metro" speech miff me:
  1. The Mayor proposed a sales tax increase on top of the high sales taxes we already pay. Sales taxes are the most regressive taxes; they disproportionately take from the poor and give to the rich. It's Robin Hood, Ass Backwards.
  2. I'm still fuming that Mayor Purcell chose to give this speech not to the bulk of citizens who will be paying most of the taxes, but to the exclusive Chamber of Commerce, which charged people 85 bucks a head to hear it. If he's going to ask us for more taxes, he should have given us the speech free and clear of all special interests. Metro Council members still would have received free admittance, and they could have at least looked as if they were above the impropriety of accepting favors from the Chamber.

05/25/2005, 3:20 p.m. Update: The editors of the Nashville Scene make a much more elegant argument than I have against the Mayor's proposal in this week's edition (out today). Notice their case against the sales tax hike:
It's not that we don't respect and treasure our elder Nashvillians; we're just opposed to subsidizing a tax on wealth for people who've had their entire lives to build wealth--and for people who've used public services all their lives and long since put their kids through public schools. Who funded schools and other public services when our now-elderly fellow citizens were young parents? Everybody--even old folks.
That is a much more cogent point, which nonetheless supports my position. The Mayor's proposed sales tax hike is a bad idea.

My guess is that the Mayor knows that this is going to fail at the ballot box. I do not see either conservatives or progressives organizing to vote for the sales tax. My guess is that he does not see that either. But at the very least, he can say that he proposed the revenues to support his plan while allowing Nashvillians to reject it come election time.

Oh, and how I am itching to e-mail council members and ask them whether they paid for their admission to the "State of Metro" or they ate off the Chamber's largess. But I'll restrain myself.

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