Commentary: Mayor Cooper’s Tax Increase Would Torpedo an Already Reeling Nashville

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by Dr. Carol M. Swain


Mayor John Cooper’s proposed 32 percent property tax increase is a terrible idea and would be detrimental to the city of Nashville, potentially creating a chilling effect across Middle Tennessee. An increase of such magnitude would bring additional pain and suffering to untold thousands of Nashvillians already harmed by the government-mandated COVID-19 lockdown and the tornado that preceded it.

Decisions about tax increases should be delayed until next spring. After the Mayor has made significant cuts and structural changes in Metro government. It also must come after Mayor Cooper has hosted townhall meetings in every Nashville neighborhood. At such times he can educate voters about what he will have done to cut spending and exactly how he will operate the city in a fiscally conservative manner.

Mayor Cooper needs to lead by example. Given that he was able to contribute $2 million of his own money to win election, he should emulate President Donald Trump and donate his pay to government service. If he chooses to draw a salary, he should be the first high-ranking executive to take a significant pay cut and set a belt-tightening example. This should be followed by pay cuts in Metro government, beginning with top officials in tourism, where a couple of salaries exceed $700,000.

The Mayor has not done enough to cut waste or to find additional resources through a restructuring of government. Major contractors such as Bridgestone Firestone are reportedly overcharging, and there is corruption in some departments that must be addressed. Across-the-board pay cuts of 25 percent or more (32 percent, perhaps?) should be mandated for Metro employees earning more than $100,000. Just for starters.

During his election campaign, the mayor-to-be pledged to restore faith and trust in government. So far, he is flunking. If this were college, he could expect a pink warning slip soon. He has done nothing to improve public safety in the city even though he received the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police. Chief Anderson, a holdover from previous administrations, remains in place despite complaints and ongoing problems within the police department. Firefighters, dispatchers, and other first responders had fallen to the bottom of the list of priorities before the crises. Plus, the proposed new budget offers first responders nothing in the way of a pay raise nor does it fund body cameras for police officers.

Questions must be addressed and answered: Why has Metro paid its employees full salaries during the lockdown when other non-essential workers had to apply for unemployment? Shouldn’t Metro employees have been laid off or furloughed if they were not performing essential services?

I am not finished.

How did the Mayor arrive at such an inflated number – a 32 percent increase – which will destroy budgets for taxpayers on fixed incomes and kill many small businesses? He is a loose cannon.

Again, why does the proposed new budget not include a pay raise for first responders? The federal money that Mayor Cooper said will provide some workers with a $3-an-hour increase is only temporary. Besides, why should the federal government be supporting a basic service that citizens pay taxes to receive?.

We should not be surprised by Mayor Cooper’s ill-advised tax increase or the heavy handedness of a shutdown that considers abortion clinics and liquor stores essential services, while shutting down many businesses that provide services people need.

All across the nation, Democrats are operating from the same playbook. High crime, high taxes, poorly performing schools, and government corruption are common in cities under Democrat control. We should resist ANY tax increase this year. If we fail in our efforts, those of us who want good government might just have to vote with our feet and move to a location governed by fiscally conservative elected officials.

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Dr. Carol M. Swain is a former tenured professor at Vanderbilt and Princeton universities. Her Be the People News blog and podcast empower individuals to think independently, understand their responsibilities, and make a difference in the world. Her latest books are Debating Immigration: Second Edition (2018) and Abduction: How Liberalism Steals Our Children’s Hearts and Minds (2016).





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8 Thoughts to “Commentary: Mayor Cooper’s Tax Increase Would Torpedo an Already Reeling Nashville”

  1. Beatrice Shaw

    There’s that woman again. Smug this time but so odd. How are we supposed to pay for everything without paying more taxes? Good grief

  2. Chris

    Vote stupid get stupid

  3. 83ragtop50

    Is the mayor playing a shell game here. Asking for 32% knowing he will get a lot of blow back so when it is lowered to “only” 25% some people will be placated? The liberal in DC use this scheme all the time.

  4. ron stone

    Fiscal mismanagement in previous years coupled with the threat by state comptroller Wilson that the State of TN was on the brink of taking over management of Metro due to it’s debt. The tax increase is part of getting metro back to a rational fiscal condition. Since they apparently will not reduce spending or employees putting the burden on property owners is in the works. If i know this surely Prof. Swain does too.

  5. M. Flatt

    Ever since “Metropolitan Nashville and Davison County” was formed in the 1960’s, the city has always been headed up by a “duly elected” Democrat Mayor. I was under the impression that Cooper might be a DINO (Is there such a thing as a “Democrat In Name Only”?), but I see to be mistaken.
    Contrary to popular opinion, tourism is not the biggest industry in Nashville. It’s not even in the top three. I cannot see any reason for any government employee to make over $100k, but especially one in “tourism”.
    The reason we keep getting bad local leadership is because the electorate chooses them. I would hope that this manufactured crisis by the fear-mongers would expose to us the true colors of our leaders. Though I’d like to think that, come November, we’re going to replace them, I suspect it’ll just be the (nasty) business as usual.

  6. Kevin

    Cooper is just another lying Democratic shyster! He and Budget Committee Chairman Mendez probably already have the scheme all cooked up! A little bit of prearranged “left pocket/right pocket” prestidigitation intended to show “good faith” but in the end the citizens get skewered!

    Oh, but don’t worry, we’ll have soccer in a stadium payed for by Nashville taxpayers thanks to Megan Berry, John Cooper and US Senate candidate Bill Hagerty. We’re stuck with Cooper for 4 years BUT we don’t have to vote for Hagerty. Wake up people! Cooper and Hagerty are profiting off of your pain.

  7. rick

    Cooper is a complete embarrassment. He with his Democratic directives is destroying the comeback from the Democratic enabled shutdown and his proposed tax increase to cover for his and the former leftist mismanagement of public funds. Bob Mendez and his liberal council leftist have no idea about the average citizens in Nashville or care. I am concerned about the cities future with Cooper, Mendez, and the leftist council members in charge, but we have soccer!