Opponents Of Pre-K Tax Point To City Leaders
(Memphis) Memphis city leaders are licking their wounds after being stomped in Thursday’s election.
Voters shot down the half cent sales tax increase for pre-k with 60 percent of the vote.
Voters seem to differ on the sales tax, but most agree expanding pre-k is need.
Memphis City Council members say the future of expanded pre-k for all Shelby County 4-year-olds is uncertain, but not on the table for them anytime soon.
What is on the table is the blame game over who’s hurting children in Shelby county.
City Councilman Myron Lowery and others are shifting the blame for the pre-k tax failure to voters
“This vote was supposed to be a game changer for our city, but we lost and the game will not change so now what? Kids will still be undereducated in pre-k,” said Lowery.
Voters we spoke to say it`s city leader’s faults because they don’t trust the politicians pushing for pre-k.
The city promised the money would go to pre-k even wrote it into the ordinance, but voters told WREG they’re used to broken promises on how the city spends tax money.
“I think there’s reason to wonder. And I don’t specifically say it’s the council members, but government in general people are a little weary of what`s going on,” said Rich Angelici.
People in Memphis question why the city doesn’t already have money for pre-k.
We pay some of the highest sales taxes in the state and the city gave up its school charter saving tens of millions of dollars every year.
This leaves many wondering why the tax was needed in the first place.
“Those funds are being absorbed in other areas that are needed. We have a pension liability; we have ongoing salary increases that we have to pay our employees,” said Lowery.
Around $300,000 was spent campaigning for the pre-k sales tax.
One of the big backers was the Memphis Chamber of Commerce who released a statement saying it’s disappointed because this hurts economic development and quality of life, and they aren’t giving up trying to figure out a way to provide pre-k.