Chamber endorses Dean's property tax hike

Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 6:55pm
Staff reports

The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors has voiced its support for Mayor Karl Dean’s property tax hike, one week before the plan heads to the Metro Council for its first of three votes.

“We applaud Mayor Dean for making the necessary spending cuts over the past four years in order to avoid raising taxes during the economic downturn,” Bert Mathews, who chairs the chamber’s board of directors, said in an endorsement statement.

“But it’s clear that we must remain competitive and ensure Nashville’s continued economic growth, and this budget moves us in that direction.”

Dean has proposed increasing the property tax rate in the Urban Services District from $4.13 to $4.66, a plan that would increase the bills of taxpayers by 13 percent while generating more than $100 million in revenues.

After four years of modest cuts in Metro government, an overall reduction of $59 million, Dean is trying to make the case for investments in items such as higher teacher pay and long-neglected infrastructure. The alternative, he’s maintained, is “draconian cuts.”

Dean has filed a tax levy ordinance, which outlines the property tax increase, along with a separate ordinance for a proposed $1.71 billion budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year. Both are slated for first reading before the council on May 15.

During his four-plus years in office, Dean and the chamber have proven to be allies on most issues –– most notably, both pushed for financing of Music City Center.

According to a chamber statement, chamber officials believe proposed budget is closely aligned with the organization’s priorities, which include: funding for Metro Schools, job creation efforts, economic development incentives, expansion of the public transit system and continued development of downtown.

The press release added, “The Nashville Chamber’s board of directors has endorsed past tax adjustments when they have been determined to align with the community’s economic development strategy. Previous tax adjustments have funded the renovation of schools, the building of Bridgestone Arena, construction of the downtown library and expansion of the Police Department.”

18 Comments on this post:

By: Shane Smiley on 5/10/12 at 7:04

Of course they want to see the property tax hike.
They want their annual $300,000.00 check from Metro.

By: Ask01 on 5/11/12 at 4:22

So long as the tax burden is on private citizens and not their businesses, why wouldn't they support Mayor Dean's assault on the citizens?

Mayor Dean has proven himself a staunch ally of businesses and developing downtown.

Psst, Mayor Dean, I have some startling news. You are the elected (so called) leader of all Davidson County, not just downtown, and your constituents include everyone still able to afford living here, not just business owners.

Thank goodness I voted for someone else besides our current (debatable) leadership.

(Of course, I would have voted for the wino who sleeps under the railroad bridge instead of Karl Dean.)

By: bobcnote on 5/11/12 at 5:18

He would still have half a billion dollors if "HE" didnt build a new convention center when we couldnt even keep the old one filled!!! (How many snow plows and salters would that have bought to take care of this cities lame snow removal system?)??????????

By: govskeptic on 5/11/12 at 5:48

The Chamber has supported and worked for the passage of every property
tax increase since the inception of Metro. Of course, so has every Union
group connected with Metro, since the sweetness of a pay raise large or
small is always a support raising part of the plan. The Chamber took the
opposite approach in the State Legislature this year, supporting dropping
or lowering or even eliminating the Hall Income tax on dividends and
interest earned by it's top members.

Did the Chamber have a vote of it's members to come to this conclusion
or just take a poll of those at the top whose salary are subsidized by
Metro's heavy annual payments, many of which live in other counties?
I suspect the answer is NO!

By: Rasputin72 on 5/11/12 at 6:11

The Chamber of Commerce represents less than 1/2 of 1% of the people in Davidson County. The Chamber of Commerce represents only the members of the Chamber.

I urge the families that are not on welfare to get their children out of this county. For those of us whose taxes are less than 4% of our income Davidson County is a fine place to live.

I would suggest that every responsible citizen find out the property tax rate for Rutherford,Wilson,Sumner,Williamson,Cheatham,and Robertson County. Compare that tax rate with the $4.66 tax rate and ask where is the difference being spent?

By: slacker on 5/11/12 at 6:28

Many groups will queue up to support this tax hike, its part of the game. Their support actually means nothing other than cheerleading. Everyone knows this tax increase, depends on the number of council members the Mayor controls. He seems to get council approval for anything he wants, so.. the tax hike will probably be no exception.
Ignore the cheerleaders, and call your councilperson to oppose this.

By: itsmyfirstday on 5/11/12 at 7:02

Dean stated that he would have to make cuts to the budget if this tax was not passed...after studying the budget long and hard he recommended cutting teachers and first responders....
But, if the tax was passed he would spend millions on new projects...


By: yucchhii on 5/11/12 at 12:42


By: pswindle on 5/11/12 at 5:38

The Chamber is Republican to the core. They think like all of the republicans and the Tea Party. The National Chamber was the big influence in sending our jobs overseas. They contol most of the bills that the GOP introduces to Congress, and the same happens here in TN.

By: Shane Smiley on 5/11/12 at 5:43

pswindle, I just received this from the Davidson County GOP.


For further information, contact:
Justin Owen, (615) 383-6431

NASHVILLE - Today, leading opponents of the proposed property tax increase on Metro Nashville taxpayers released a statement on the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce's endorsement of the plan. Talk radio host Ralph Bristol, Nashville Tea Party founder Ben Cunningham, Nashville business owner Lee Beaman, and Justin Owen of the Beacon Center of Tennessee said the following:

Yesterday, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce publicly endorsed Mayor Karl Dean's 13 percent property tax hike. This is unfortunate for many of its business members who will undoubtedly face a significant increase in their tax burdens, and it also raises a serious question about a conflict of interest.

Under the mayor's budget proposal, the Chamber will receive its annual subsidy of $300,000 from Metro taxpayers. In order to avoid a perceived conflict of interest, we are calling on the Chamber to officially refuse this handout. In its statement, the Chamber pointed to the need to raise government employee salaries and fund our schools as justification for the tax increase. Refusing it's $300,000 subsidy will help ensure that every dollar of the proposed tax hike goes to fund those programs the Chamber claims warrant the tax hike in the first place, rather than to boost its own bottom line.

Further, it is imperative that Mayor Dean withdraw proposed funding to any private entity that endorses the tax hike to likewise avoid any conflicts of interest. This will ensure that no taxpayer money is used by private parties to push for a tax increase based on their own potential benefits. It will also guarantee that the debate over the need of this tax increase remains transparent and without such conflicts.


By: Shadow63 on 5/11/12 at 11:07

This deal is done. Your councilmen are on the take and do what they are told by the people who got them in office (not you) and will vote this raise whether you like it or not.
He made it clear when elected that he was going to raise property taxes before he left office.

By: thinking12 on 5/12/12 at 8:40

But, if the tax was passed he would spend millions on new projects...That's what I was wondering about.
If he does not get the increase we have to cut essentials but if he does get the increase we have extra dollars for so many things.
The math does not add up .....maybe he went to school here. :(
But I want to know what else can be done to head this increase off-I've called everyone and emailed more - what else can be done???

By: FLeFew on 5/13/12 at 8:12

It is easy to say that the Chamber is a lot of Republicans and expect everyone to ubelieve it. If you look at the Chamber leaders individually, they are no more Republican than Dean. YOu do know that Belle Meade is populated by liberals like Gore, Dean, Cooper, Bredesen, and their friends? There were more Obama bumper tags there than any other during the 2008 election.

The only Republicans in Belle Meade are those who made it for themselves. (excluding, of course, those who made big bucks from the Demopcrat administrations). Those who inherited it don't have to worry about property taxes.

By: Ask01 on 5/13/12 at 9:37

I've not mentioned, or for that matter, thought about the party affiliation of those in power.

I don't see Republican or Democrat concerning our local leadership(?) and their debacles. What I do perceive and interpret, however, is arrogance, overinflated ego, self aggrandizement, self serving scheming, and general disdain for the wishes of the electorate.

These questionable values, as I believe them to be embodied in our elected employees, cross all political and socio economic boundaries, resulting in our finding ourselves in dire economic straits.

One reason I advocate throwing out all incumbents, and in fact, decimating the monopoly the two party system has constructed. Both parties are, in my opinion, beholding to too many masters, none of which are the people who elected them, but rather those with money who helped finance campaigns.

In my humble, opinion, we need a third or even fourth party to keep governmental power diluted and under control of the citizenry.

By: wasaw on 5/14/12 at 8:07

Do you suppose Hizoner Karl didn't know, when he twisted our arms to build the MCC, that the city is short on cash? Oh, but he said the MCC would bring in additional tax revenues, didn't he?

And didn't Hizoner Karn know the city needed more tax revenue when he gave Dolly and Gaylord a huge write-off for the coming waterpark? The only answer is that Karl is a typical "tax & spend" Dem. He is another politician who is not bright enough to figure out how to live within his means. He's married to a wealthy wife (got it in inheritence, didn't work for it) and has never had to live within a budget. We all knew he was going to raise our taxes the moment he was re-elected.

How is it that the state has an abundance of tax revenue that's going into the rainy day fund and Karl can't manage the Metro budget? The difference in Haslam and Dean is that Haslam has run a business and Karl has never had a non-government job. He's got two departments who've already run out of their budgeted money. Karl is just another POOR city manager. But hey, let's all go out and run or get on a loaner bycycle. Karl's got his head up his bike seat!

By: Gary Lampman on 5/14/12 at 8:14

As always Property taxes are only levied on Home Owners . Corporations skate free on paying Property taxes but Dean wants to encrouch on the hard working people. It is another shameful act of unjust political power.

By: Wild Bill on 5/15/12 at 5:58

Wild Bill

As a business owner and a member of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce for over 40 years i can tell you this is the last year for our membership. Endorsing this tax hike is crazy when you really know how much Metro wastes. The "Green Spaces" are nice but we could and can do with out them and a lot of other programs. The bottom line is Dean is a big government guy and the council tows the line when they have been told in closed door meeting what part of the pie they will get.

By: Gary Lampman on 5/16/12 at 6:21

You don't have to be A Democrat to promote Big Government and Higher Taxes. Republicans usually sneak it in as fees, What the HELL DOES THE CHAMBER HAVE TO DO WITH PROPERTY TAXES ON HOME OWNERS. They can stick their ill gotten gains and Stick it. Live within your means and stop coming back for another Welfare Check!!!! Go after these Multi-Billion Dollar international Corporate,Tax Dodging and Property Tax Dodgers who have lived a privledge Life! While hard working taxpayers foot the bill for their Non- Compliance.
Mr Dean, Find the money your wasting or live within your means!