Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy was joined in the studio by Carmichael and on the newsmakers line by Metro Council member At-Large Steve Glover.
During the third hour, Glover expressed concern over the proposed 32% property tax hike stating that the consequences will be devastating. He added that we can’t keep going to the taxpayers to fix the problems of Metro Nashville government and instead need to work from the inside out.
Leahy: On the line with us is our good friend and metro council member-at-large, Steve Glover. Steve, Mayor Cooper wants to increase property taxes by 32%. I’m seeing reports that you don’t like that very much.
Glover: Well and I’m seeing the opposite. From what everybody is telling me on the council everybody is good with that. I guess we have conflicting information.
Leahy: What do you say about it?
Leahy: Do you have a plan?
Glover: What do you think I say? No. There is no way in the world at 32%. If we do that it will be so devastating to our economy that it is not even, there’s nothing funny about what’s happened over the last several months. So, we just can’t do it, period. And if we do it then the consequences will be greater than the position we’re in right now.
I realize the other side feels like every time we get in a financial bind is all we do is reach into your pocket and fix it. No. We need to fix it from the inside out and then sit down and have a logical conversation and say, alright here’s the plan. And now here’s how we’re going to get through today, tomorrow, next year, etc.
Carmichael: Steve let me ask you a quick question. I thought the voters 10 or 12 years ago passed a referendum that put a limit on how much the council can raise property tax rates without coming back to the voters? My understanding was that when Bob Mendes recommended a 16% increase he picked that number because that was the maximum that he could do it under that referendum.
Glover: You could actually go to about 47% to 49% with that referendum.
Carmichael: Well, then what was the point of the referendum? What did it supposedly do? Boy, at the time it passed it was such a big deal.
Glover: It locked it in at 469 Crom. Don’t hold me to that but I’m pretty close on the numbers there. Nobody anticipated the property values would escalate the way they have. Nobody made a mistake on it. They just said, hey look you can’t go above where it is right now. The voters voted on it. And that is the confusion when people say, oh my goodness.
And that’s what the other side is doing right now. They are saying, oh, we have historically low property rates. As far as the taxation. But the values have escalated so drastically. Over the last five or six years, we collected before all the pandemic and before the tornado, and then we collected an excess of 23% more revenues without a property tax increase. And we squandered it. That’s what we did with it.
Leahy: Steve, can you tell us where this stands right now? Has the Mayor submitted this? When will the council be voting on it? Will alternatives be considered and do you have an alternative?
Glover: First of all yes. The Mayor has submitted a 32% property tax increase. Let’s just say you’re paying a $100.00 right now on the property taxes, it just went to $132.00 unless you can figure out something in the middle or of something lower.
I don’t know if we’ll get to the middle of what because too many people don’t want to ‘give up anything’ even though we pay for things we can’t afford. Yes, there will be other substitutes out there, and yes I have a substitute. I was prepared to try and talk about it today but of course, this is going to shock you, your both sitting down right?
Glover: Alright good. Everything I did they said, you can’t do that, you can’t do this, you can’t do that. And so I will be working diligently over the next week or so to figure out exactly how to make my substitute budget come in and be legal and make sure it meets the ever-changing rules we have to play with downtown.
Leahy: Can you give us a hint as to the bottom line property tax increase or change that would be in your proposal?
Glover: Well I can give you a hint. It’s much less than what the Mayor has done. There are reductions in departments. There are reductions across the board in almost every department and mine. I don’t want to give you a percentage because nor do I want to let you know one of my aces that I think I have in my hand that I am holding on to try and figure out to see if I can make some things temporary. I don’t want to go much further than that. I’m trying to avoid your question but I just need to make sure what kind of legal battles I would get into on that.
Carmichael: Steve, are you getting any support from any of the other media outlets in town. Because what I want to try to do is this, if somebody lives in a house right now and just bought it a year ago for $300,000.00…
Glover: Their house is worth $268,000.00 now today.
Carmichael: I’m just trying to focus on one other thing first. If they paid $300,000.00 for a house and they’ve paid property taxes one time already. What did they pay in property taxes that one time?
Glover: I don’t remember that. But what I will tell you the next time that plus around $730.00-$750.00.
Glover: Crom, I don’t remember the exact number. All I remember is how much it’s going to go up on the average priced home of $300,000.00. It’s roughly $750.00 for the year.
Carmichael: OK, so that’s the property tax increase for somebody who just paid $300,000.00 for a house is going to see on a $300,000.00 house. That’s interesting. And I guess the hotels that are hemorrhaging now they are going to get crushed with a giant property tax increase on their buildings even though they are losing tremendous amounts of money.
Glover: Well yes. They are losing a tremendous amount of money. Number one. Number two, I did a show the other day with Carey Bringle over at the Peg Leg Porker and he’s paying like $55,000.00 per year is what he said. If the 32% goes through he’ll be paying an excess of $72,000.00-$75,000.00 somewhere in that range. That’s pretty massive. That’s a massive increase especially when the Mayor shut the city down and he wasn’t able to even get open.
I went over there the other day and he’s got a scattering of people in there. I assure you, all these people that have lost their jobs and these businesses are holding on with a thread, 32% is astronomical. What could you be thinking when you think that you’re allowed to ask people to give you more money when they don’t’ have it?
Carmichael: That’s the part that I wonder if the media outlets even have a clue. You know we were talking about Chuck Todd being somebody who just reports what he’s told to report and isn’t allowed to think and so he doesn’t.
I’m just wondering if the other media outlets in this town are at all interested in the small business owners, the restaurant owners, and what not of how they are going to be even more put out of business when their fixed costs of doing business are going to skyrocket while they’re still losing money. It makes no sense.
Glover: They are trying to figure out how to get back in business. So when we come back, make sure we talk about 850 and 43. Those are two very key numbers and the time span on those numbers is extremely different, however extremely significant with what we have going on in our economy here in Nashville.
Leahy: It’s like putting together a puzzle that just doesn’t want to be put together.
Glover: But I’m going to make it go together one way or another.
Listen to the full third hour here:
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