Nashville Metro Council member Steve Glover is pushing for more budget transparency from Mayor John Cooper. Glover made this announcement during a press conference on Wednesday. In short, the resolution would ask the mayor to share with the council an estimate on revenues. Glover shared that his initial predictions of a $70-100 million surplus proved less than the actual current surplus of $102-150 million.
As a result, Glover estimated that the mayor could reduce the tax increase anywhere from 31 to 50 percent. He explained that he’d relied on numbers from the state to draw these conclusions – the same information that the mayor knew while deciding on the hefty property tax increase.
“It was brutally, brutally hard on so many families in Nashville, and I tried to file a bill [last year], and this council and this mayor fought and they killed it right off the bat to lower that tax rate,” stated Glover.
Glover added that the budget priorities have been misguided. He noted that the city needs additional personnel in certain areas such as in police, fire, and EMT.
“Over $4.6 billion in building permits, and we can’t keep up with it because we’ve cut back in the wrong places,” stated Glover.
Due to this, Glover promised to introduce additional bills to increase staff to take care of the city’s infrastructure.
The Tennessee Star asked Glover why the mayor would choose to keep these increased taxes if he had access to the same numbers from the state. Glover surmised that the city guessed wrong about the pandemic’s impact on people’s spending behaviors.
“Well, I think what they did was they overplayed their cards here. As you watch [w]hat they tried to do, in my opinion, they tried to suppress the economy as much as they possibly could. But even so, people kept going out, they kept spending money,” explained Glover. “If you look at the counties around us, boy they had a massive increase in sales tax revenues because [much of] Davidson County was going to Wilson, Sumner, Williamson, other counties, and they were spending their money. Every one of them were up, and we’re only going to be down a little bit versus last year.”
Furthermore, Glover said that there are more budget cuts that need to occur.
“I think we could’ve gotten away with a 12-17 percent [tax increase]. That’s why I feel like we can reduce taxes by as much as 50 percent and still be okay,” stated Glover. “We’ve spent money on the wrong things – not the right things. We don’t have our priorities in line in Nashville.”
Back in October, The Star reported, the city wanted to create two new positions for diversity initiatives – both of which potentially could cost taxpayers up to $214,120 annually. The council approved the creation of those positions in November.
“The taxpayers got abused. There’s nothing that they can say inside this building that will convince me, ever, nor should it ever convince the people of Nashville they were not abused,” stated Glover.
This resolution will appear before the council during next Tuesday’s meeting at 6:30 p.m. CST.
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