The Davidson County Election Commission has recruited a legal team to sue the citizens’ group Americans for Prosperity-Tennessee (AFP-TN) for its December ballot tax cut petition.
Former Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Bill Koch will serve as lead counsel, and Junaid Odubeko the co-counsel.
The Taxpayer Protection Act is an amendment that would roll back the 32 percent property tax increase and limit property tax increases made without the people’s approval to 2 percent annually. The act is backed currently by over 26,000 Davidson County residents – 6,000 more petitioners from when AFP-TN turned in 20,000 signatures at the end of last month.
Mayor John Cooper called it a “poison pill.”
The AFP-TN expressed disbelief that the city would expend more taxpayer dollars to fight something that taxpayers want.
“Well I think it’s bad policy to write a blank check when Metro’s finances are in as bad a situation as it is. I can say that I don’t make $400 an hour or anything like that,” AFP-TN State Director Tori Venable said.
So far this year, Davidson County residents have endured the financial and personal burdens imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, a tornado, and riots.
AFP-TN, along with other small citizen groups, immediately began collecting signatures after Cooper’s proposal to petition that the city put their tax increase to a vote. Metro’s Director of Law Robert Cooper Jr. issued a legal opinion on Monday calling the amendment “unconstitutional” and “unlawful.”
“No, the proposed charter amendment is not legal and enforceable. It is defective in form and conflicts with the Tennessee Constitution and state and local law in the [various] ways,” he said.
Several weeks ago, Cooper requested an additional $82.6 million in federal government funding to offset COVID-related losses. Governor Bill Lee denied the request. Lee stated that the previous $121 million funding should have proved sufficient to cover pandemic expenditures.
The commission plans to meet Tuesday, October 6 at 3 p.m. EDT.
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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Davidson County Election Commission Office” by Davidson County Election Commission.