One of the key players behind the proposed Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act said Sunday that the odds of it going to a referendum are now 100 percent.
But that same man, Nashville attorney Jim Roberts, told The Tennessee Star Sunday that people who dislike the proposed referendum will continue to use the law to obstruct it and keep it from passing.
The referendum, if voters approve it, would roll back Nashville Mayor John Cooper’s 34 to 37 percent tax increase.
According to The Tennessean, members of the Davidson County Election Commission “voted Saturday to use the August election — with a lower voter turnout than the more recent November election — to determine the number of signatures needed on a petition calling for a special election to roll back Metro’s 34 percent property tax increase.”
“August’s lower voter turnout means a lower number of petition signatures to potentially hold the special election,” the paper reported.
“The Metro Charter states a charter amendment may be proposed to Davidson County voters if a petition is signed by 10 percent of the number of voters who cast ballots in the preceding general election.”
Roberts told The Star Sunday that he attended the first part of Saturday’s Davidson County Election Commission meeting.
“They know we have done everything we are supposed to do. We have followed the judge’s orders to a tee. We have turned in enough signatures,” Roberts said.
“What you are going to see, probably very soon, is that they will vote to put it on the ballot and then some very dishonest groups are going to file just a plethora of lawsuits, making wild claims, misinterpreting the law, and they are going to try to overwhelm the commission and overwhelm us, which is very dishonest to argue with. That has already started, of course.”
As The Star reported this month, Roberts said he was optimistic that the proposed referendum has a fighting chance, given the new makeup of the Davidson County Election Commission.
Attorney Jim Roberts described Thursday night’s Election Commission meeting as “fabulous for our side.”
As reported, two Republicans have replaced two other members of that political party on the Davidson County Election Commission. Davidson County Administrator of Elections Jeff Roberts — no relation to Jim Roberts — identified those two new men as Dan Davis and Ross Evans. Jim DeLanis now chairs the Election Commission, replacing now-former commissioner Emily Reynolds. The people behind the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act said they have obtained 14,000 signatures for a referendum on the matter and have filed those signatures with the Metro Nashville Clerk’s Office.
Now people are debating whether 14,000 signatures was enough, based upon preceding Metro elections.
“State and federal elections don’t count as preceding general metropolitan elections. And that logic is completely spelled out in a Fraternal Order of Police versus Metro case that came out of the Community Oversight Board referendum two years ago. In that case the Court of Appeals said, very clearly [and] unequivocally that state and federal elections don’t count and that special elections don’t court. And that was the issue in this case,” Jim Roberts told The Star this month.
“They were going backwards from 2018 saying there was the mayoral special election. There was the 2016 presidential election. They were going step-by-step and the court said no special elections don’t count [and] state and federal elections don’t count. The only thing that counts are county-wide general elections. That was the August 2016 assessor of property[election] and 2020 [was] also an assessor of property [election].”
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