Memphis City Council to vote on possible change to property tax rate Tuesday

Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 6:26 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A property tax rate debate and a possible decision is expected to come from the Memphis City Council Tuesday afternoon.

Mayor Jim Strickland says now is not the time to raise property taxes, but one Memphis City Councilman is proposing less than a 30 cent rate increase. On Monday, a new coalition spoke in favor of the raise.

“Our budgets from government should be moral documents,” Cardell Orrin with the Moral Budget Coalition said. “They should reflect our values, our priorities, and the things we hold dear.”

The Moral Budget Coalition, made up of more than a dozen Memphis organizations, is advocating for a property tax rate increase.

A plan from Memphis City Councilman Martavious Jones goes before council for a vote Tuesday. It would set the property tax rate to $3 for $100 of assessed value. Mayor Jim Strickland’s budget, which did not include a rate increase, sets it at $2.71 per $100 of assessed value.

“When we talk about a tax increase, for a $100,000 home, in this community, I ask you are you willing to sacrifice $10 a month,” Jones said. “Because that’s the amount of the increase we’re talking about per month.”

Mayor Jim Strickland opposes any such increase.

“At the tail end of the pandemic, when thousands of people have lost their jobs, and hundreds have lost their businesses, that this is not the time to raise taxes,” Strickland said. “There’s never a good time, but this certainly isn’t the time to raise taxes. I’m really hoping a majority of the Council agrees.”

In his plan, Jones said revenue from the increase could include three percent raises for all city employees, investment in an affordable housing trust fund and opportunity youth trust fund plus an ongoing revenue stream of $10 million for MATA.

“Properly funding MATA will provide reliable and efficient ridership for everyone,” Mary Lou McCaw with MICAH’s Transit Equity Team said. “It will especially expand the opportunities for modest income citizens, an essential key to reducing poverty.”

Memphis City Council’s meeting starts at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

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