Earlier this week, 4 Good Government published a video series explaining the purposes and benefits of their voter referendum, the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act. The 7 short videos addressed each of the 6 amendments in the referendum.
Jim Roberts, the attorney and founder behind 4 Good Government, explained that he founded the organization to improve Metro Nashville government.
“The Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act has six amendments, and each amendment [represents] one good government idea – and all six you should vote ‘yes’ on,” explained Roberts.
The first amendment would roll back the 34 to 37 percent property tax increase to the 2019 rate, and would cap future property tax increases to 3 percent. Otherwise, the public would have to vote on the increase.
“Having a three percent increase tracks the inflation rate, which would allow the Metropolitan government’s revenues to follow the inflation rate, which would lead to a more stable and more fiscally responsible government,” explained Roberts.
The second amendment would revise the Metro government’s charter to increase politicians’ accountability, and allow constituents to remove corrupt politicians from office. Roberts said that this amendment gives constituents a “fighting chance” to keep their politicians honest.
The third amendment would eliminate the lifelong benefits that some Metro employees earn.
“Instead of rewarding politicians who serve a short period of time with lifetime benefits that could last decades, let’s have that money available for the citizens and children of Davidson County,” said Roberts.
The fourth amendment would require that amendments to voter-sponsored charter amendments only come from other voter-sponsored charter amendments. Roberts asserted that this would protect the community’s best interest from any private, self-serving interests in the Metro Nashville City Council.
The fifth amendment would further limit the giveaway of parks, greenways, and public lands to outside developers. It would require authority above the Metro Nashville City Council, as well as the public’s approval for the giveaway of property valued at over $5 million.
The sixth and final amendment would ensure that taxpayer-invested sports stadiums and arenas would be in the hands of the Metro public if the sports team that used them leaves.
“We can’t guarantee that the teams will stay – but we can guarantee that we will get our property back,” said Roberts. “Those will bring much-needed revenue to support our city; to support our schools and firefighters and police officers, instead of them sitting idle.”
As The Tennessee Star reported previously, another political coalition rose up last month to challenge the referendum – Save Nashville Now.
In less than a month, the coalition has recruited a sizable number of community members and Metro government employees. Their first supporter was Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) Chair Christiane Buggs, who joined their ranks a day after the coalition formed.
“This is going to be detrimental for generations to come if we have a [reduction] in funding at any level, at any amount,” said Buggs. “I just want to make sure people see the humanizing factor of these dollars, that this is truly an investment in children that we will be cutting.”
Other community, activist, and government leaders that have signed on to the coalition include Interdenominational Minister’s Fellowship (IMF) President Dr. Chris Jackson, Metro Nashville City Council’s Minority Caucus, Nashville Organized for Action and Hope (NOAH) Chair Reverend Edward Thompson, LGBT Chamber of Commerce CEO Joe Woolley, Nashville Business Coalition Executive Director Joseph Woodson, Equity Alliance Fund Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director Tequila Johnson, Stand Up Nashville (SUN) Executive Director Odessa Kelly, and Metro Nashville Education Association (MNEA) President Amanda Kail.
As The Star reported earlier this week, the coalition also launched two 30-second TV commercials. The coalition accused 4 Good Government of fanaticism and accepting “dark money,” which Roberts told The Star was laughable.
Mayor John Cooper has also come out against the referendum, echoing the concerns of Save Nashville Now coalition’s community, activist, and government leaders. Cooper said that the referendum would mistreat minorities and create anarchy.
In March, 4 Good Government turned in 14,010 signatures to get the referendum on the ballot. Those numbers marked the second-largest number of signatures gathered for a ballot initiative – just shy of double the number of signatures that community members gathered to create the Community Oversight Board (COB).
The final vote on the referendum will take place on July 27.
Watch the video series, including a breakdown of each amendment, here:
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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act Video” by 4 Good Government.