Transit Tax Debacle Winners and Losers

by Steve Gill


Any election or referendum has a clear winner and loser after the votes are count-ed. The margins may be wide or slim, but the results are there in black and white. Every election cycle also produces less apparent winners and losers who were not on the ballot, and that is definitely the case with the Nashville transit tax battle. So, who were the winners and losers in the Barry-Briley Transit Tax referendum that was rejected by a nearly two to one margin?


1. NASHVILLE TAXPAYERS, who avoided an unnecessary $9 billion boondoggle that would not have improved traffic congestion nor fixed Nashville roads and bridges. More importantly, they dodged having one of the highest sales tax rates in the country!

2. TAXPAYERS IN SURROUNDING COUNTIES, who would have been among those paying about 47% of the taxes for the Nashville transit scheme that would not have improved commuter traffic nor roads leading in to Nashville.

3. EVERY CANDIDATE FOR MAYOR NOT NAMED BRILEY, since every candidate for Mayor in the May 24th special election not named Briley was on the side of the 64% of Nashville voters who rejected the Briley tax increase.

4. THE TENNESSEE STAR AND TENNESSEE TRIBUNE (, as the only local media outlets who took an active role opposing the transit tax increase and sided with the overwhelming majority of Nashville voters. When the conservative leaning Tennessee Star and African American focused Tribune are on the same side you know it’s the right side! Plus, the only public poll regarding the referendum was conducted by The Tennessee Star, and was spot on!

5. LEE BEAMAN, TORI VENABLE AND AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY, THE KOCH BROTHERS, NOTAX4TRACKS, LONNIE SPIVAK AND NASHVILLE SMART, INC., because they stood up, spoke up, and put their time and money behind stopping an unnecessary tax increase despite having no financial interest in the results. Millions spent demonizing them didn’t convince Nashville voters. Oh, and their side literally WON!



1. THE TENNESSEAN, ran dozens of stories promoting the transit tax referendum and was a loud, though not effective, mouthpiece for the increasingly hysterical and personal attacks on the opponents of the plan in the waning days leading to the vote. Once again the Tennessean found itself on the wrong side of Nashville votes and voters, and even further disconnected from the red counties (and the readers and advertisers who reside there) that surround Nashville. Keep it up guys, we at The Star love your business model.

2. MCNEELY PIGOTT & FOX, the PR firm that not only oversaw the epic fail of the transit tax effort but also kept scandal-ridden former Mayor Megan Barry hanging on and twisting in the sex fueled, media-frenzy wind until criminal charges finally drove her from office — but not out of the limelight. Did the Barry connection to the transit plan kill it? No, but it sure didn’t help.

3. NASHVILLE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND CEO RALPH SCHULZ, finds themselves on the wrong side of yet another public policy issue. Pro-illegal immi-gration, pro-tax-increase, pro-transgender bath room advocates of virtually every liberal scheme that gets proposed. A pattern is emerging: if the Chamber is for it, Nashville is against it.

4. THE NASHVILLE PREDATORS, who inexplicably took sides in a hot political issue that has nothing to do with hockey. Supported with millions in taxpayer dollars they wanted to raise taxes on those who pay their bills? Stick to hockey, particularly when you are blowing 3-0 leads. Picking the wrong side of political issues while losing key games and fans may start throwing in the towel rather than catfish.

5. INTERIM MAYOR DAVID BRILEY, who was intimately connected to his name-sake Barry-Briley Transit Tax. Early voting in the May 24th special election for Mayor begins on Friday. Can he distance himself far enough from the debacle be-fore voters get to vote for or against him? Will they forgive his bad judgement or punish him for it? He’s hoping voters have very short memories. We will see.








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4 Thoughts to “Transit Tax Debacle Winners and Losers”

  1. […] Business supporters included McNeely Piggot & Fox, which handled the failed plan’s PR, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Nashville Predators. […]

  2. Floyd

    We’ve traded out Megan The Menace for Caspar Milquetoast. There are many great candidates running besides David Briley. Carol Swain already has a lot of momentum. She didn’t support the transit boondoggle. Early on she called for the resignation of the corrupted, disgraced and long gone mayor when most others were quiet. Vanderbilt stated previously that Carol Swain in no way represents the views and opinions of the university. This a big big plus for her politically as they supported Megan Barry until the end. Swain won’t pander to the moonbeamers trying to convert Nashville into a sanctuary city hell hole and alter the 2nd amendment of the constitution. We sent a profound message on May 1 and we can do it again on May 24, early voting starts tomorrow.

  3. Nashville Makes Alexander Hamilton Proud

    In addition to being a hero in The Revolutionary War, Alexander Hamilton, was one of the authors of The Federalist Papers, and our first Secretary of The Treasury, he shaped our Constitutional Republic.

    We made him proud by sending that awful “mass transit plan” to the showers, and we are two-thirds finished.

    The last remaining problem is to get rid of the presumptive mayor.

    This whole deal has been driven by a bogus assumption; it’s The Amazon Headquarters, according to those in the know, Amazon wants to locate it’s new headquarters in a city with a “regional transportation plan?”

    Talk about tails wagging dogs, where is it written, that, “Out-siders” dictate our policy, any policy?

    If those genius’ at Amazon want regional transportation, let them go to New York City, (New York City — the home of the nation’s second best salsa) they have had regional transportation for decades, and a fat lot of good it’s done them!

    If the presumptive mayor thinks he can run on any sort of transportation redux, to attract Amazon, its time to consider alternate candidates, and stop worrying about “attracting Amazon!”

  4. Not My Acting Mayor

    Another glass ceiling NOT broken.