A panel consisting of Williamson County officials and business leaders held an open forum meeting Monday, when, within a discussion of the strong growth and expensive ‘to-do’ list of the county, the specter of a sales tax increase was once again raised, a proposal Williamson County Republican Chair Debbie Deaver calls “a Band-Aid.”
The panel meeting – dubbed ‘FrankTalks’ – is a regular occurring program. The Williamson Herald reported Monday’s meeting was paneled by Franklin Mayor Ken Moore; Lisa Wurth, Benchmark Realty and former president of the Williamson County Association of Realtors; Ellie Westman Chin of the Williamson County Convention & Visitors Bureau; and Richard Herrington, Franklin Synergy president and chairman of Williamson Inc. Matt Largen, president and CEO of Williamson Inc., also participated
The current local contribution to the state sales tax in Williamson county is 2.25 percent.
While lauding the growth of the county with the addition of several medium and large businesses and the people who follow, the panelists seem to support a half-percent increase – which represents a hefty 22 percent hike, resulting is a new tax rate of 2.75 percent.
Lisa Wurth said property taxes are only paid by property owners, “but we have a lot of apartment dwellers,” the Herald reported.
Referring to the quality of schools and property taxes , she added, “This will be passed on to them, too. If it doesn’t pass, it will affect property owners.”
“Everyone is calling me about this,” Williamson Republican Party Chair Debbie Deaver said in an email to The Tennessee Star, adding:
Raising the sales tax is a Band-Aid and is not a real solution nor does it address the grown-up conversation we need to have in the County about who pays for growth long term. Suggesting you have a tax revenue problem then spending $140,000 on a special election almost 90 days prior to a general election seems counter intuitive and an example of why Republicans typically oppose tax increases.
The public will vote on the referendum on Feb. 6.
“Pursuant to T.C.A. 2-3-204, when a governing body (i.e. County Commission) calls for a sales tax referendum it must be held no earlier than 75 days or no later than 90 days after the receipt of the certified copy of the resolution from the County Clerk to the Election Commission office. Our Election Commission sets the date for such referendum based on that time frame. The only exception would be if that date falls within 90 days of a previously scheduled primary or general election. Then the referendum question would appear on the ballot with the other election,” Deaver tells The Star.