Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Metro Council rubber stamps another Karl Dean property tax giveaway to a big corporation

Remember this when the Mayor proposes a property tax increase on regular Nashvillians the next time his budget comes before Metro Council for approval; the next time he defends that tax increase by saying, "We have no other choice if we want to fund Metro services":

Hospital Corporation of America, the nation’s largest private health care provider, is close to landing a $3 million property tax break from Metro for building a new $200 million data center in Antioch.

The Metro Council, after no deliberation, gave preliminary approval Tuesday to hand HCA a 60 percent property tax abatement on real and personal property taxes over seven years to accommodate a new Antioch data center at The Crossings on Old Franklin Road. The incentive, which Mayor Karl Dean’s administration engineered, is set for final approval in April.

We had a choice; that is to say, the Mayor had a choice. It was the same choice he had when he raised stormwater fees to pay for improvements a few years ago. At that time he raised residential water rates at a higher rate than he did business water rates, even though the latter generate huge amounts of stormwater run-off with paved parking lots and expansive roofs. At that time a few council progressives shouted protests loud and long about favoritism and dirty dealmaking with the rich.

He's passing out tax breaks now and sending us the bill for them later. Yet, some of the same progressive council members who fought the good fight last time are sitting out this one in silence. In sum, Karl Dean and the Metro Council are choosing to subsidize wealthy business on the backs of smaller property owners instead of requiring them to pay their fair share just like you and I will be expected to when the tax hammer falls.

Tax breaks for the wealthy and influential are just another form of class warfare, and the Mayor and Metro Council are choosing up sides against the middle class. But when the budget discussions start percolating in a little while not a word will be said about Metro's preferential option for the rich.

Instead, it will be about collecting the money for our public school kids, for police protection of our neighborhoods, and for job growth in the private sector. Opponents of unbalanced tax increases will be scapegoated for opposing full funding for Metro services.

These tax breaks will be forgotten or ignored.

Shame on council progressives for not lifting a single voice to oppose. Shame on council conservatives who will likely howl loud and long against a property tax increase but did not bat an eye at the subsidies flying out the courthouse door to big business (you will be the ones who deserve all of the scorn and backlash for abandoning Metro services with any budget cuts). A pox on both of your houses.


  1. Well, s-mike, like the old expression says, there are two sides to everything. Seems like your on the side to stir people up without giving them all the facts as it were.
    A $200 million dollar center and you figure what... its just going to sit empty ???
    "Takes money to make money" would be a good example for you, as in counting. Jobs for one thing, related jobs and services that this will keep open and attract. True job growth brings money to other secondary businesses, like food and clothes, which people can afford when they have jobs.
    Seems 3 million is a CHEAP price in the long run.
    You want to preach doom and gloom, try yoour hand at something else. In the mean time, let the economy heal.
    And to anyone on the council who might be reading this, Kudo's to you for having the guts to do the right thing for Nashville.

  2. I think "Anonymous" is out of line with these comments. I actually live in Davidson County, but I won't if this tax increase happens. It is all doom and gloom when you look around at our neighboring counties. Davidson County has close to DOUBLE the property taxes. If this tax increase happens then we be double our surrounding counties. I can easily look around and see that HCA, LIFEPOINT, GAYLORD, are all getting assistance at my expense. LifePoint is already a TN based company. Why move them a few miles down the road Karl? It won't bring any new jobs for Davidson County residence? If the market influences a company to make an investment, then let that happen. I'm tired of this type of behavior in our politicians. If Nashville needs a new convention center then let private business invest. If they are going to make money on an investment then they will invest. It isn't our job to "attract" them to do something that they would normally do. Cut the taxes and give the citizens a break. We pay so many layers of taxes already. It needs to stop!