Business owners speak out on tax increase to save city workers’ benefits

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Businesses are caught in the middle of the city employee health benefits issue. The Chamber of Commerce says businesses can't afford another tax increase, so we talked to random business owners to see how they really feel.

Overton Square is one of the  hot spots for new business development in Memphis. Jerry Mincey opened his Sweet Noshings Candy and Sweets Shop eight months ago and is now in the middle of the city quagmire over employee benefits.

Mincey, who has police and firefighters as customers,  doesn't think city employee benefits should have been touched.

"A tax increase probably would have been a better alternative even though no one wants a tax increase, but if you spread a little bit out across everybody, no one gets hurts. You can't hurt the people that work the hardest," Mincey said.

The Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce says a tax increase is not an alternative and could cause some businesses to close and potential businesses to go elsewhere.

"One recent example, we just had Volvo move across the border to Mississippi, the primary reason was taxes." said Phil Trenary, the president of the Chamber.

Tell longtime Pinch district business owner Jake Schorr about taxes.

"The taxes I pay in my two little businesses probably are approaching $200,000 a year. We pay business tax, we pay sales tax, we pay liquor tax, we pay property tax," said Schorr, who owns Westy's Restaurant on Main Street.

He says a tax increase won't fix the problem, but may be short-term solution.

"There is an answer. It's called reduce your spending. Increase the taxes for two years, three years. Do it for three cents or five cents. I can pay it. The customers eventually pay that," Schorr said.

He says to avoid getting in this situation again, the city has to manage its cash flow.

The businesses we talked to didn't think the Chamber of Commerce should have taken sides in this city issue.

In fact, Schorr told us he cancelled his Chamber membership because of the Chamber's stance.


  • biz59

    NO one has to be taxed more. Get rid of some of the people on the City Council like Janis Fullilove who should NOT be a PAID Employee of the City Council anyhow with her record. That would save some money and than get rid of all the others that have been in trouble with the law as well and than don’t hire them back. The ones that are on the board doing the job right can cover the other basis that those had been. I like many others pay a WHEEL TAX when I purchase my car tags, make the people who want ALL these bike lanes and to ride their bikes on the streets pay a WHEEL TAX too. Make them tag their bicycles, and make them follow the laws too. If the light is RED they sit through it too. If they run the red light than ticket them as well. Fine them if they do NOT have helmets on. LAW states HELMETS are required. So people who ride bikes now have to purchase a tag and the tag should be 40.-50.00 a year because we as tax payers have to pay for the paint to make their lanes for them. Think about it. The fine for NOT having a bike tag would be 25.00 – 30.00 and their are your extra monies to pay our MPD and MFD men and woman. Make it work without raising taxes.

  • jihn

    Taxing the businesses even more will caused them to leave. Unemployment is very high now if businesses leave expect crime to go up also.

  • canadianwhiskeygirl

    gonna fInd my whIte marker In the mornIng and wrIte all over my sons car….WE SUPPORT MEMPHIS POLICE,FIRE AND CITY EMPLOYEES! STAND YOUR GROUND AND DONT BACK DOWN!!!

  • chanceencounterstlm

    Big business don’t come here for a lot of reasons and taxes are only one piece of the puzzle. Another part has to do with safety, schools, and a good hard working workforce. You’re not going to have safety with the police and fire issues the way they are now. The school issue has mostly sorted itself out. BTW, what about all the money the city saved getting itself out of the school business. They saved a bundle of money shifting that responsibility to the county.

  • tiredofrichtheives

    If the city would have managed the money they had instead of robbing Peter to pay Paul…now Peter wants his cant keep spending recklessly and not expect it to catch up…you are a fool..put some of these projects on hold that we don’t need, Since we no longer have the schools where did that $57 mill. go?

  • Sam The Sham

    A city ran by minorities who are now the majority who were raised in section 8 and food stamps do not know how to manage anyone’s cash flow not even their own cash flow. Always and forever the white man’s burden. So Ni66a please. Allahu Akbar

  • Mike

    Still haven’t seen any reporting on the fact that Wharton and Little get their insurance from their former employer, the county! Jack the rates, after all it doesn’t apply to us! BTW, I highly recommend westy’s restaurant if you’re downtown. That jake is a nice fellow and the food is pretty good.

  • Dianne

    Since Little and Wharton have county insurance but access to City insurance, they should be forced to drop the county and take the City’s!

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