Mayor Luttrell Vetoes Proposed County Sales Tax
UPDATE 8/23: Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell has vetoed the proposed half cent sales resolution proposed by Comm. Mike Ritz.
In a statement, Luttrell said, “I felt the commission’s action was premature. As I’ve stated many times, I believe we must review all options regarding the school budget before initiating a tax increase.”
Shelby County Commissioners can still override the mayor’s veto if at least eight of the 13 commissioners vote to do so.
(Memphis) Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell says he hasn’t made up his mind whether he will veto a county-wide sales tax increase.
Commissioners approved putting the tax on the November ballot to pay for the unified schools next year.
Mayor Luttrell says the commission is acting on the assumption the county won’t have enough money to pay for schools far too soon.
He thinks passing a half cent sales tax increase to fund an imaginary budget is a bad idea, “It’s premature, ill-advised and at this point is something we as a county should not embrace.”
Mayor Luttrell said the county doesn’t know how much money it will have to make up, because the unified county schools have not presented the commission with a budget.
The board of education must come up with a proposal based on the Transition Planning Commissions recommendations over the next several months.
“We need to let the school board work on that plan and then by budget time next spring they can bring us a pretty clear picture of what the financial future will be like in Shelby County,” said Luttrell.
Mayor Luttrell believes commissioners should wait and see what the funding gap is before they make a plan to over come it.
The mayor hasn’t made up his mind yet about what he will do, but he has three options.
He can veto the decision, sign it, or not sign it and it will become an ordinance with no signature.
Commissioner Mike Ritz is behind the sales tax increase and told News Channel 3 Monday he believes he has the eight votes needed to overcome a veto by the mayor.
If approved, the sales tax would void the tax just passed by the municipalities to fund suburban schools and replace it.
Ritz expects $61 Million would be raised with 75% going to consolidated schools.
The rest would be divided among municipalities based on their size.
Mayor Luttrell says he has ten days to make a decision about how he’s gong to handle the resolution once it gets to his desk.