Nashville Mayor John Cooper Formally Introduces Huge Property Tax Increase After COVID-19 and Recent Tornadoes


Nashville Mayor John Cooper wants to raise property taxes by as much as 32 percent, and he said the recent tornadoes and the COVID-19 pandemic give him no other choice.

Cooper formally unveiled his $2.447 billion budget for fiscal year 2021 Tuesday. He did this during a live video conference with Metro Council members, according to a press release.

“The financial impact of the tornado and COVID-19 on Q4 and FY21 require a budget that increases the property tax rate by $1.00, raising the current rate of $3.155 up to $4.155,” the press release said.

“Over the past 25 years, Metro’s combined GSD/USD property tax rate has averaged $4.30.”

Metro Finance estimates the city will have a $470 million revenue decline over a 16-month time frame due to the impact of COVID-19 and the March tornado. The decline in revenue during Q4 of fiscal year 2020 required Metro to cut expenditures and spend down remaining fund balances, leaving Metro with only $12 million of fund balances at the end of FY20, the press release said.

“This is an unprecedented and difficult time for all Nashvillians. Thousands of residents have lost their jobs during the pandemic, and that makes the necessary decision to raise taxes all the more difficult. And as I mentioned during the State of Metro address, the city has thinned its cash reserves to a point where we find ourselves without a rainy-day fund during a stormy season. This is a crisis budget – not a discretionary budget – that will ensure Metro and Metro Nashville Public Schools can continue to meet our community’s needs,” Cooper said.

The mayor went on to say that “Nashville is stronger than our current challenges.”

“This is the operating budget that will get us through this crisis and prepare for a return to prosperity. While this budget does not include the many new investments I had hoped to make in a full deployment of body cameras, affordable housing, transportation, social and emotional learning, and much more, this budget will provide needed financial stability to Metro Government,” Cooper said.

According to Nashville Public Radio, the budget includes $234 million in deferred spending and no pay increases for city employees — but no planned layoffs either.

“For a typical Nashville household, where the median home value is about $277,000, the annual tax payment would rise from about $2,100 to $2,800, an increase of $700,” the station reported.

As The Tennessee Star reported last week, Cooper’s staff did not address the likely unintended consequences of raising property taxes to make up for the COVID-19 pandemic diminishing the city’s finances.

Cooper’s staff also would not say whether it’s wise to grant restaurant and other business owners the right to reopen sooner rather than later, so they can again generate tax revenue and help the city. This, even if business owners took reasonable precautions to protect people’s health.


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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “John Cooper” by John Cooper.








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16 Thoughts to “Nashville Mayor John Cooper Formally Introduces Huge Property Tax Increase After COVID-19 and Recent Tornadoes”

  1. […] Cooper unveiled his $2.447 billion budget for the fiscal year 2021 – an increase of $332 million over the current year late last month, The Tennessee Star reported. […]

  2. Hammer

    I lived in Nashville for 52 years. In November of last year I moved back to my birthplace. Last week, my new county announced there would be no property tax increase. I moved because of the metro government and the increase of crime where nothing is being done. The government was corrupt the whole time I lived there but it wasn’t socialist or a sanctuary city for the undocumented and the criminal. When a socialist who’s only claim to fame was commercial voice overs was elected as my council woman over a lifelong resident of the district, I had enough.

  3. Vden

    Put a Democrat in office and watch your taxes go up up and away! Every state, city and county they run has its citizens ying the price for their greed and ignorance.

  4. Ned Thomas

    Hello Nashville—we are all democratic socialists now. Whatever the friigin heck that is.

  5. Steve Allen

    Typical Democrat for you. Tax, tax, tax to make up for failed social programs.

  6. 83ragtop50

    Nice try of deflecting the causes of the tremendous financial problems of Nashville, Mayor Cooper. But light has been shone on the fiscal failings of Nashville leadership – including you – for many, many years. The chickens have come home to roost on your lousy behavior. I certainly hope to see a rebellion among property tax payers.

  7. Chris

    Vote for stupid, get stupid is all I have to say.

  8. Wolf Woman

    You are so right, Ron Stone. The mayor knew Metro was sinking in Nov. 2019 and made some cuts in late December to keep the wolves at bay. What he and the council refused to do is to weed the bureaucratic undergrowth like the “Oversight Committee” and administrator heavy departments along with various pet projects that their wealthy cronies support.

    What really tees me off is Council Member Bob Mendes saying, “My concern is about whether this budget is too rough on Metro employees and the important nonprofits that serve Nashvillians.” Well hell, Bob, these bureaucrats still have a job and we the people who make the revenue for the city to tax are employee workers and small business owners who have LOST their livelihoods that may never come back. Isn’t that rough? What a selfish political hack!


    Leave it to this Tax and spend Democrat to live up to his party’s logo of a jacka$$ and kick the dead horse while he down (taxpayers who have being in a shut down or rebuilding mode for the last 40 days). The mayor need to tighten the spending belt and save money,

  10. rick

    Joe Biden’s phrase of “economic intercourse” is a very descriptive phrase that describes metro tax policy towards its citizens after years of mismanagement of funds that have been plentiful. The Mayor wants to blame the tornado and the virus shutdown for the situation we are in, but its plain and simple complete Democratic control for years and mismanagement! How is the soccer deal and keeping Nashville’s economy shutdown working out for you , your doing a good job Mayor One Term!

    1. Joe! Nancy needs more Ice Cream

      “Economic intercourse” is a Joe Biden’s way of saying “Screw the taxpayer”.

      1. james R bellar

        that is funny. you need to copyright it.

  11. ron stone

    The mayor is much less than truthful. Ask him about the TN State Comptroller Justin Wilson tdlling him and the council that the state would take over the finances of Nashville due to an inzbility to meet the cities financial obligayion. These taxes were coming. The virus and the totnado had nothing to do with the situation. The city had been told last year what was necessary not to loose control of metro. Google “stzte tskeover of Nashville”. It’s there for all to ser.

  12. Beatrice Shaw

    Need more stimulus money to pay our taxes!! We just got $1200

  13. Angelito

    So, the mayor shuts down the economy based on wildly inaccurate CV models.

    Next, he ignores accurate data that keeping the economy shut down has little affect on CV transmission.

    Next, he makes sure his paycheck and all Metro employee paychecks are fully funded.

    And, he was part of the Metro Council who spent Nashville into bankruptcy, even before CV.

    Finally, he wants to ram an incredibly huge tax increase to pay for the problems he caused.

    Hell no.