Nashville Mayor John Cooper released a report Tuesday that not only calls for more affordable housing within the city but also calls for new sources of revenue to fund it.
Cooper said in the report that Nashville’s housing challenge is large.
“Nearly half of Nashville’s renters are cost burdened, meaning they spend more than a third of their income on housing,” Cooper said.
“Rising rents and increasing home prices threaten the finances and dreams of thousands of our fellow residents. We need solutions born of real expertise – solutions that we will start work on immediately.”
The Affordable Housing Task Force Report said rents throughout Nashville have increased by 50 percent during the past decade.
“For those at the lower end of the income spectrum, this may mean an inability to even find housing at all,” according to the report.
“Additionally, this has created further strain on our city’s Black and Brown families, who have been excluded from full participation in the housing market for decades.”
The report specifically calls on Metro Nashville officials to pursue additional revenue streams. Metro planners also suggest generating more affordable housing by using land already publicly-owned and underutilized. The report said city officials could expand Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) to support Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC). This method, the report went on to say, would fund long-term housing by partnering with nonprofit and private developers. Metro planners also suggested creating “mixed use, mixed income communities.”
Cooper and other Metro officials last year raised property taxes by 34 percent. Staff at the Nashville-based Beacon Center of Tennessee in December recognized the tax increase as their “Pork of the Year.” Beacon is a free market think tank.
“At a time when Nashville is among the hottest cities in the country and has skyrocketing tax revenue, the city is somehow still in massive debt,” according to a press release that Beacon emailed at the time.
“Instead of making the changes necessary to fix the problem, such as reforming its unbelievably generous city pension system, enacting a spending cap, or getting rid of the egregious lifetime health insurance benefits for Council members, the mayor and City Council raised taxes on hard-working Nashvillians while making absolutely no sacrifices themselves.”
According to the Center for Real Estate in 2018, landlords do pass the cost of higher property taxes down to tenants.
Cooper is now fighting the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act, a referendum scheduled for next month. If passed, the referendum would roll back Cooper’s property tax increase.
Various unions, religious organizations, the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, the Nashville Visitor Convention Bureau, and the Greater Nashville Realtors Association oppose the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act.
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