Odds Increase that Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act will Go to Referendum

Jim Roberts


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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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]






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7 Thoughts to “Odds Increase that Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act will Go to Referendum”

  1. Margaret Mauro

    those of you who have commented, please think about joining the TRA Tennessee Republican Assembly. Check out their facebook page. We meet every 2nd Saturday @ Bold Patriot Brewing @10am. Get involved, we have to start with the local elections and that is our view., to try and start changing things in Nashville.

    1. Dan

      Thanks Margaret and Jim Roberts! Yes we all need to take a more active roles in our local elections, staying on top of thing going on in Nashville and our state of Tennessee. Joining TRA is a good way to become and stay aware of current things going on that affect all of us as citizens of Nashville and Tennessee.

  2. Kevin

    Kudos to Jim Roberts and everybody who has helped to get this effort as far as it has come!

    But, Our City, our State and our Country has been slipping away from the original intended form and function of government for decades! No single Bill, Constitutional amendment, or Executive Order will fix the problems that we have in Nashville, Tennessee or America! Short of an act of God, there’s only one way to fix this thing.

    Living in a Republic is NOT a spectator sport. We need every American citizen to spend 15 minutes (or more) each and every day educating themselves, redressing their Government or the representatives to that Government, and taking an active role. And the ultimate real fix is to replace each and every one of these elected Representatives and the entrenched bureaucrats that they hire or appoint, with morally sound individuals.

    Cooper and all of the Metro council are at the top of that list that must go!

  3. Jack

    The lifetime benefits costs to Davidson County Taxpayers is more than $1,000,000 per year! Does any body get lifetime health benefits for working at a job for 8 years like Metro Council members? Jim Roberts please get the petition on the ballot to let the voters have a say on lifetime benefits! How come Mayor John Cooper has not made a public push to cease the lifetime health Benefits for council members? Metro council members need to be held accountable and it should be much easier to recall council members and the Mayor! Does any body at the election commssion and metro legal know how to do math? Bob Cooper says the costs to hold an election is $1,000,000 and Jeff Roberts says it is $800,000! Which is it? By removing lifetime health benefits to metro council members will pay the costs for the election the first year in savings! Hold the Charter amendments now!

  4. karen

    Jim Roberts please ask the Director of Metro Legal, Bob Cooper if the mayor supports using Nashville taxpayers money to litigate against the citizens concerning the petition to place caps on the property tax increases? The mayor is responsible for Bob Cooper litigating against the taxpayers using an endless amount of money to suppress the voters from having a say in the property tax increases! Mayor cooper please make a public statement that you do not support litigating against the taxpayers right to vote on the increase in property taxes! Councilman Bob Mendez is the one that has been leading the charge in the 34% property tax increase, Please recall this guy! He is now entitled to lifetime benefits costing Davidson county taxpayers in total more than 1,000,000 a year! Recall Mendez now…..

  5. Nancy

    Davidson County Election commission, Please replace the Administrator of Elections, Jeff Roberts! He is a political appointee by the commission! Jeff Roberts makes a salary of more than 100,000 per year and was not even able to answer the question on which criteria the commission used to validate signatures on the ballot petition! When asked did he use state law or Davidson county rules he was not able to answer the simple question! It is time for a new leader to take a fresh approach to leading the Davidson county election commission! Thank you Davidson County GOP for supporting the new referendum! Please field GOP candidates for all local offices! Jim Roberts please make it easier to recall the Mayor and Council Members who vote for bad things and to keep their lifetime benefits as a politician!

  6. Rick

    Mayor Cooper needs to be brought under control. Without the taxpayers money and his illegal ability to shut things down, his power needs to be removed. He does not have the psychological balance to run the city. The Cooper’s what a corrupt dynasty!