Governor Concerned With Memphis Spending

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(Memphis) If the state of Tennessee was a business, Memphis would be its largest branch, so the success of the state depends on Memphis.

Governor Bill Haslam said Tuesday he's concerned about how Memphis is borrowing money.

A few months ago, the Tennessee state comptroller warned the city it's borrowing too much money, but Mayor A C Wharton wants the city council to approve even more debt -- a $25 million loan to buy AutoZone Park.

“The health of the city of Memphis as well as the health of the economy of the entire Mid-South is vitally important to us,” said Haslam.

City council members say they have their own concerns and brought them to the governor.

One problem is more than 10,000 untested rape kits.

WREG first told you about the ignored evidence three years ago.

At the time, the city did nothing.

Now it's asking the governor for help.

“I've had a couple of city council folks actually here today at the lunch bring that up and ask me to look into it,” said Haslam.

Haslam set up a meeting set with Department of Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons to look into the city's handling of rape evidence.

Gibbons is a former District Attorney General for the Memphis area, and was on watch when a lot of those kits went untested.

The governor also heard about the city's pension problems.

The fund is hundreds of millions of dollars short, and even with council members saying they don't trust the mayor, Haslam says he trusts them.

“I also have a lot of faith in the local leadership here to address those issues and whether it be the long term issue of the pension and those things...I think the leadership understands we have to address those things,” said Haslam.

Gov. Haslam says the state has its own budget challenges, so there is no way it can come in and help the city out financially.


  • Sherry Preslar

    Governor Haslam is right in now giving the city of Memphis another loan.
    The city could be beautiful and make money for itself. That will never happen with the 65% welfare population and the crime. Number 1 city in the US for crime. Do not spend another penny on the city for it is going nowhere fast.

  • Dr. Dana Couch-Davis

    It is too bad that WREG GM Ron Walter and News Director Bruce Moore, who are responsible for the despicable reporting at this news outlet, for the mistake by Adam Hammond when he refers to Bill Gibbons in the story as “former Memphis Police Director” when Commissioner Gibbons was the former District Attorney General for Shelby County as well as having served on the Memphis City Council. This is shoddy journalism which prior managers at WREG would not have tolerated (to the point of firing the reporter and the News Director). But of course they were too busy doing self-promotion in the piece to notice the error or working on what “game” they will lure viewers to watch their second rate news cast.

  • Nonya Bidness

    Memphis’ long term debt isn’t an issue. With the courts giving the green light to Detroit for bankruptcy the city council knows it can dismiss all that debt any time it chooses. If I were a city employee I would start saving for retirement because the city isn’t going to provide it.

    Memphis voted these folks in and eventually the people of Memphis will have to deal the mess they have created!

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