(Memphis) A new advertising campaign being launched over the airwaves is designed to convince Memphis voters to fund a sales tax increase.
Supporters also hope it will sway Memphians to pay higher taxes to support Pre-kindergaten education.
Mayor A C Wharton recently nominated eight people to serve on the board of a Pre-K Trust fund.
Back in August, the city council approved the ordinance to put the tax increase on the ballot in November.
City Councilman Jim Strickland said there are many benefits to the plan, “The kids who go through Pre-K achieve more academically and better in school and outside of school so they’re much better off going through Pre-K than if they didn’t.”
The Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce and members of the business community have thrown their support behind the initiative.
Some council members such, as Lee Harris, say this is a way Memphians can do something to improve education.
“It’s so many positive effects from these types of programs. So, I’ll be voting yes. Are there some downsides? Sure. People will have to pay something that’s almost invisible to the eye in terms of an additional sales tax. I guess it’s a downside, but it’s a real small price to pay,” Harris said.
Supporters say the tax hike will benefit more than four thousand 4-year-olds in the city.
People against the tax have doubts it will have long-term benefits for children after they leave Pre-K and their families still live in poverty.
Councilman Harold Collins said he can see the pros and cons of the proposal, “So, if you’re providing a service for a 4-year old to get ready for school, but the 4-year old comes back to an environment where it’s conducive for him or her to fail then we’re not reaching our full benefit.”