Americans for Prosperity-Tennessee (AFP-TN) this week announced that members of the group and other concerned citizens would turn in roughly 20,000 signatures to the Metro Clerk’s office in support of the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act.
This, according to a press release that AFP-TN members published on their website. Members of the group helped gather the requisite number of signatures for the initiative for the December 5 ballot.
The Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act would roll back Mayor John Cooper’s 34-37 percent tax increase and limit property tax rate increases to 2 percent every year without voters approving it, the press release said.
As The Tennessee Star reported last week, Nashville attorney Jim Roberts revealed that he and others in the effort had, by that time, already acquired 19,500 signatures. He also discussed whether Metro Nashville officials would ignore the signatures.
“Well, that’s always a risk. We are getting some pushback. They clearly don’t like having power taken away. And it would probably require a lawsuit to force the clerk to actually count the signatures like they are required to do by law,” Roberts said.
“I don’t think they’ll do that. I think they really believe that people want this tax. And there are people who are out there. It’s not going to win 100 percent. But Metro government really thinks these people want this property tax initiative.”
Roberts also “it’s clear that Metro has no intention of respecting this ballot if it gets passed.”
“I think they are trying to decide whether they want to fight it on the front end or allow it to get loaded on by the people and hoping it will overwhelmingly pass and then fight it at that point,” Roberts said.
“I just have a bad feeling that they have no intention of respecting the people’s wishes on this.”
Members of the grassroots group contacted more than 38,000 Tennesseans through canvassing, texting, and phone calls, according to the press release.
“Punishing Nashville families with a massive property tax hike won’t solve the underlying issues that created this budget crisis; it is especially unfair given that businesses have been forced to close and many people are out of work. A property tax increase does not solve the underlying issues that put Nashville on the path to bankruptcy: cronyism, excess debt, and out of control spending,” said AFP-TN State Director Tori Venable.
“The Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act is the best way to address the root causes of our budget crisis, ensure voters have a say in how their tax dollars are being spent, and force lawmakers to live within their means – as every Nashville family is forced to do. We look forward to helping Nashvillians turn out the vote on December 5 to protect their tax dollars and prevent further reckless spending.”
The Beacon Center examined Nashville’s budget in its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.
Beacon is a Nashville-based right-of-center think tank.
“Every year since 2007, Nashville’s finances have weakened, with its Net Position becoming negative for the first time in 2018, well before the tornado or COVID-19 shutdown,” according to the report.
According to AFP’s press release, even Cooper admitted in a questionnaire during his mayoral campaign last year that Nashville needs more fiscal responsibility.
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