City Councilman Wants Delay In Voting On Sales Tax Increase

(Memphis) Hold on to your wallet. Tax talk is back before Memphis City Council.

Tuesday is slated to be the final reading on a referendum allowing  voters to  decide if they want to raise the city sales from 9.25 percent to 9.75 percent.

Councilman Jim Strickland proposed the sales tax hike, but listen to him now.

“I want to delay it for two weeks,” Strickland said.

Strickland, who didn’t support the recent property tax hike, didn’t bank on property taxes going up when he made the sales tax pitch.

“I want to hear from people.  It they are so concerned the county is raising property taxes, the city is raising property taxes, they just don’t have the desire to incur a sales tax,” Strickland said.

Strickland says pre-k stands to get $27 million from the $47 million the sales tax could bring in yearly. The other $20 million will go to reducing property taxes by 20 cents.

Mike Warr is with Porter Leath Pre-K and has talked with the city about structuring a pre-k program.

“Talk to any of the schools and they will tell you the same  thing. You need pre-k to get these kids ready to learn,” Warr said.

Voters in Shelby County shot down a similar county tax proposal last year. Some say it failed because of poor advertising and no clarity. For voters, that’s still an issue.

“Don’t go up on the sales tax or property tax and use it for something different, something that is not gonna be useful for the public as a whole,” one Memphis resident said.

“I want to make sure the money can only be used for two purposes, pre-k and property tax reduction,” says Strickland.

Pre-k has already been cut. Strickland says the sales tax increase would add about 4,000 more kids back in the program.

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