Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Those Roostward-Bound Chickens of Last Fall's Property Tax Referendum Amendment

In today's piece on the Mayor's race, the Scene's Jeff Woods underscored another mess we find ourselves in thanks to 70% of the voters--whipped up by the horn-honkers of Tennessee Tax Revolt--who in 2006 voted "yes" to a Charter Amendment to submit all local tax increases to popular referendum:

“I’ve got an awful lot of bright people in my district,” says one council member, “but none of them reads the budget proposal because it’s the size of a phone book. As council members, we go through three months of hearings with 55 departments and make some tough calls. But voters are going to show up at the polls and push ‘no’ [to a tax increase] and not have the slightest idea what that means. Fifteen years from now, we’ll be living in a city with no police protection, no fire protection, crumbled sidewalks and a school system that’s 10 times worse than it already is, and people are going to be wondering what went wrong.”
What a self-defeating boondoggle that Charter amendment looks to be.

Future egg-layers might include the possibility of giving special interest groups enough of a financial and/or political stake in police protection, fire protection, sidewalks and the school system to leverage their supporters to vote for tax increases. Making those groups the primary stakeholders in the budget process encourages cronyism and discourages the widest possible constructive effects for the most number of Nashvillians.


  1. We don't need a tax increase, we need lawmakers who are wise with our money and can make and stick to realistic budgets.

    The gov needs better management, not more to manage.

  2. I don't disagree with the point that lawmakers could be wiser with the money. Hell, the council's discretionary fund giveaway to non-profits--including religious ones designed to turn kids into little Churches of Christers--shows that.

    But do you really disagree with the point that we need more police on the streets, which would require more money to recruit and to pay them? And there really is no management involved in state and Metro payroll requirements. Metro has to meet those requirements or pay even more in penalties later.

    I'm all for criticizing government's management flaws but I don't believe that we should go overboard in generalizations that cannot be backed up with facts or in characterizations that are designed to redirect money from public services that neighborhoods need.

  3. I agree we need better funded, better equipped and better staffed police in this city. I disagree that we need more taxes to make that happen. Our government (rather local and federal) is hemorrhaging money - wasting it like a teenager with daddy's credit card.

    Tossing more money at them isn't going to correct their childish spending habits. The government needs to make a budget with what it has and stick to it just like the rest of us do (should). We need fiscal responsibility in our elected official - something that simply isn't there.

    We can encrease the quality of life and provide better services through responsibility and better management.