Memphis Trying To Beat Shelby Co. To Sales Tax Hike

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(Memphis) In October, the Memphis City Council will spend hundreds of thousands of your dollars to ask if you want to raise taxes.

Council members want to raise the sales tax half a cent to fund pre-k and bring property taxes down.

The clock's ticking for Memphis to raise the sales tax without competition from the county.

“They had an election last November and come that day, they could trump us again. So we're going to have it before that,” said Councilman Jim Strickland.

Strickland says a special election is needed in October because it stops the county from butting in.

The county, which is already planning for elections, can try and raise the tax again starting this November.

“They are having their municipal elections in their cities, in Germantown, Collierville, Bartlett, and we would only be having ours in the city of Memphis so there is no overlap and it's not saving the city any money,” said Strickland.

The Shelby County Election Commission says it didn't budget for this referendum at the beginning of the year, so it will ask county commissioners to pay for it.

Commissioner Steve Mulroy says there is no hurry for the city to rush the vote, because commissioners aren't talking about another sales tax hike, especially since they just raised property taxes.

“We tried that last year, so we're not going to try that again this year I don't think. So I don't think Councilman Strickland has to worry about us coming in and stealing their baby,” said Mulroy.

After the election, the city would reimburse the county for the costs.

If approved, the sales tax would be 9.34 cents on every dollar spent.