MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis City Councilman Martavius Jones believes a property tax hike is needed for better services in the city, despite being more than $5,500 behind in property taxes in both the city and the county.
On Tuesday afternoon, the city council voted against raising property taxes. The rate will stay at the re-adjusted amount of $2.71.
WREG’s Shay Arthur asked Jones whether he was current on his tax payments outside of council committee chambers on Tuesday, ahead of the vote on a proposed hike in property taxes.
Arthur: “Are you up to date in all your taxes? In the county and city taxes that you owe?”
Jones: “No I’m not.”
Arthur: “Ok, so how can you ask people to pay more money if you’re not up to date?”
Jones: “Because I’m paying interest on that so at the end of the day, they will receive more money from me than what was originally allocated to me.”
Jones wouldn’t say why he’s behind on his property taxes. He said he just hasn’t paid yet and will write a check Friday.
“But it will be more money that I’m paying to the city based on what’s expected of me,” Jones said.
This is the third time WREG has questioned Jones about being behind in taxes. In 2018, he was behind in property taxes at two locations as well, also totaling thousands of dollars. In 2016, a WREG investigation found he owed hundreds of dollars.
Jones is a financial advisor. He said he would advise his clients to be behind on their taxes so they’re paying interest.
“Because it can be a tax write off for individuals,” Jones said.
The proposed tax hike would have been an increase to $3 from the current $2.71 per $100 of assessed value, 29 cents above the recertified rate.