Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Keeping Tabs on the Council's On-Going Conversion of Tax Dollars to Charitable Donations

With another Metro Council Meeting upon us on Tuesday night, it is time for the third Enclave report on how this council is electing to spend a $1.95 million windfall from uncollected property taxes this year that they earmarked for their own discretionary spending. And by "discretionary spending" they don't seem to mean adding funds to government services to address public need. So far, 100% of those tax dollars have gone to subsidize private charities close to council members' hearts.

This week's council agenda extends the conversion of property tax dollars to charitable donations with 5 "Reserve Council Infrastructure Program" resolutions up for council vote:
Our watch to see if any of the $1.95 million actually goes to public programs continues.

Despite glaring chances to pave some alleys or to solve a few water runoff problems or to refurbish the worst public parks in Nashville, council members continue to be set on playing philanthropists, pitching public money at private non-profits rather than at actual Metro infrastructure. Metro Water should have a bunker and more than one security guard to protect those dangerous chlorine gas tanker cars currently sitting out in the open on the North End, so why are these leaders not so allocating these tax dollars to protect us from the calamity of a chemical spill? Why can't they pool a couple or three million to build Charlie Tygard the fire station he says he needs (even as he's spending his own allocated funds on private sports groups and on private swimming pool upgrades)?

Why? Because it would probably get called "massive government expansion" by those who seem to fancy a world of declining municipal services as subsidies for private charities increase. Why is it perfectly fine to criticize spending on government programs that pave roads or build fire stations, but not to criticize the frittering away of uncollected property taxes on private charities, based on nothing but councilmanic discretion?


  1. I agree, completely and wholeheartedly, this money should go for public services, not private charities. While we disagree about the size and scope of the public sector, we can certainly agree that taxpayer dollars should not be funding private charities.

  2. I, too, find this bizarre. It would be one thing if Metro announced a grant process and funded projects through such. This is just downright strange to me.

    I know some are in favor of such monies being refunded to taxpayers, but I would feel better if they were put into a rainy-day fund [should Metro budget allow for one] or if not, that they be spent for a public purpose, per the original intent of the tax collection.