Memphis City Council Considers Sales Tax Increase

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(Memphis) It may soon be more expensive to buy things in Memphis because of a higher sales tax, but city council member say it could save you money in the long run.

The council is considering putting a measure on a ballot for voters this spring that would raise the sales tax in Memphis by half a percent.

City council members call this ordinance a game changer.

They say of the local Memphis sales tax is raised to 2.75% they will be able to provide Pre-K to every four-year old in town who wants it, and it would bring your property taxes down.

Shoppers in Memphis already pay nearly the highest sales tax in the country, and now City Councilman Jim Strickland is sponsoring an ordinance that would raise the total sales tax to 9.75% when paired with the state tax.

You may have to pay more at the cash register, but he says it could actually save you money.

Twenty-seven million of the money raised will go toward Pre-K programs, and Councilman Strickland says those programs are proven to improved education performance by up to one 100%.

“It would transform this city ten and fifteen years from now,” said Strickland.

Strickland hopes that's incisive for some voters to approve it, but they also plan to give homeowners a break.

Memphis has the highest property tax in the state at $3.11 cents per $100 of assessed value.

Money brought in from the sales tax increase would bring it down to $2.91.

“This would allow us to reduce it even more and make us more competitive with Nashville and our other neighboring cities to bring in businesses and people,” said Strickland.

Councilman Kemp Conrad thinks it's a bad idea to reduce the property tax.

“What we're going to look at is a couple of years of lowering the tax rate and then an explosion in the tax rate once all of our bills became due which is very soon,” said Conrad.

The council already approved putting the tax before voters last year, but it was bumped off the ballot when the county commission decided to do the same thing.

Voters rejected the county sales tax increase in November and now the city wants their shot.

City Council is expected to vote on the measure within the month.