Employee benefits versus tax hikes is fueling tension in Memphis
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Thomas Malone of the Memphis Fire Fighters Association is upset with the Memphis business community.
“We propped them up. They see our dire need. Where are they?”
Public employees are outraged by recent cuts to their benefits. They say they shouldn’t be the only ones suffering, and the business community needs to meet them half way.
“The administration has got the tax payers thinking this is our only choice: go big on the tax or get the employees. The employees should not be the low hanging fruit on the tree.”
Malone says the City is giving big companies too many tax breaks, and that money could be used to help pay for benefits. Protesters have started setting up outside of the Greater Memphis Chamber.
“It’s not their fault. If I am in their shoes, I am right out there with them,” said Phil Trenary.
He is the president of the Greater Memphis Chamber. He says the business community shrunk over the last 10 years because taxes are already too high and when big companies either leave town or choose to go some place else, so do the tax revenues.
“It’s one thing if we say we do this because we have to compete with China or some other country. We have to do this to compete with Tipton County, Desoto County,” he explained.
Mayor A C Wharton is asking people to submit better ideas on how to pay for the pension and keep benefits. Malone says he has one that’s fairer to everyone. He says it will cost the employees and the business community.
“As the old adage goes: if you walk out of mediation and everyone is pissed off, it’s a good mediation.”