MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Southern Christian Leadership Conference is endorsing a half-cent sales tax to help pay for a jump in healthcare costs of for city employees.
Dr. Lasimba Grey of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition said, “In previous years we have been able to represent the concerns of the people. This is doing something when doing nothing is not an option.”
City workers are angry over a 24 percent increase in health care benefits, and eliminating all benefits for some retirees.
Last week, Mayor A C Wharton said he does not endorse a sales tax hike to raise the money, but today said he knows something must be done.
The mayor said a church was a great place for this conversation.
“There was nobody making a show, using bad language or trying to say shocking things. It’s much more conducive to meditating, contemplating and listening.”
The so-called Blue Flu and Red Rash appear to be over, and both unions say they’re happy to see everyone’s back on the job keeping the public safe.
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference brought all sides to the table Tuesday.
Memphis Police Association President Mike Williams said there’s still a long way to go.
“A lot of people say it looks like the movement is fading. No. Sometimes you have to step back and strategize.”
Williams and the SCLC want to see this tax help pay for benefits, and pay off the city’s debt. While no one from the council was inside Tuesday’s meeting to hear the proposal, they can expect to hear all about it.
Rev. Montgomery said, “We will be going to them with this proposal and we want to get this done.”
Montgomery plans to spread the word of support with 450 ministers at the Memphis Baptist Ministerial Association next week.