Shelby Commission Continues To Delay Tax Rate Decision

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(Memphis) The Shelby County Commission is deadlocked on a decision about the tax rate with most of the commissioners saying they don’t want the mayor’s planned 36-cent increase, but they’re unable to pass another proposal.

Commissioners will meet again Monday to go vote on the tax rate.

The plan they will be voting on is the one they already defeated saying the tax hike was too high.

The only other option is to propose and pass a new plan Monday, but that won’t be easy as three votes to come up with a new plan Wednesday all failed.

“Our tax rate is double that of our competitors across the state,” said Commissioner Wyatt Bunker.

Bunker says he’s not passing any tax rate increase, not even a penny.

“I’m going to stand against big government. I’m, going to stand against raising taxes, and I didn’t make that commitment to say unless it gets tough up there,” said Bunker.

He says Mayor Mark Luttrell’s warning of job layoffs if they don’t raise the rate is a bluff and says the mayor is using scare tactics.

“It’s very much an exaggeration. The cuts he’s talking about would immobilize government and I just don’t think out citizens would tolerate it,” said Luttrell.

Bunker also takes issue with Commissioner Walter Bailey and his desire to raise taxes, and even called him an elitist.

“It’s pretty easy to pontificate from your gated community on the river to the rest of the tax payers in Shelby County saying they need to suck it up in their homes and suck it up in their businesses and pay more taxes that you want to put on their backs,” said Bunker.

Bailey said that was a cheap shot and stands by his support of a tax rate higher than the one proposed by the mayor.

“When people look at Shelby county in terms of making a decision about if they want to move here they want quality of life, they want to know is the community safe, they don’t ask about the tax rate,” said Bailey.