Councilman calls chamber 'political pawn' for supporting tax hike

Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 12:28pm

The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce is nothing more than a “political pawn” a rookie Metro councilman tweeted Monday in response to the chamber’s endorsement of Mayor Karl Dean’s property tax increase proposal last week.

District 13 Councilman Josh Stites, elected last fall, has earned a reputation for turning to Twitter to express his political views. Following the chamber and the Great Nashville Association of Realtors’ decisions to support the mayor’s tax hike, Stites chimed in on one of his Twitter accounts.

“Groups like the @RealtorsGNAR and @nashchamber can’t be taken serious on the tax increase,” Stites tweeted. “They are nothing more than political pawns.”

He followed that with several other tax-related tweets, including this one: “If you polled the constituency of @nashchamber and @RealtorsGNAR it would not reflect support of a tax increase.”

Asked about his comments, Stites said, “I don’t think their support of the tax increase is reflective of their memberships. So, why else would they be supporting the tax increase?”

Chamber officials did not return an email that asked whether the group would like to respond to Stites’ tweets.

The council approved Dean’s 53-cent increase to the property tax rate on first reading Tuesday, a move that was made procedurally to move the proposal to committee. The mayor’s proposed $1.71 billion budget also cleared a first of three required votes Tuesday.

Stites was one of a handful of anti-tax council members who voted for the increase for procedural reasons. He seems likely to vote against the measure when it comes up on second reading in June.

“The problem that I have with the tax increase is (1) it’s a significant tax increase,” he said. “It’s very significant. This is a bad time. ... There are a lot of people, especially in District 13, who are living paycheck to paycheck, and they’re having the hardest time they’ve had in 30 years.”

Ironically, as the Tennessean pointed out in a report, Stites received the endorsements of both the GNAR and chamber-backed Nashville Business Coalition during his election campaign.

14 Comments on this post:

By: artsmart on 5/16/12 at 11:24

Nothing like stating the obvious. Most of City Council is just the same. It is not called the good old boys network for no reason. Tell of another City the size of Nashville that does not have a serious candidate to run against the incumbent Mayor.

By: AnonmusProfessor on 5/16/12 at 1:08

I am a natural born leader. When is the Nashville Chamber of Commerce Going to take me serious. We need jobs in the Entertainment Industry. We need to Capitalize on the Fact we are America's "Music City". And We could be "The Movie Capital of the East..

By: TRHJR on 5/16/12 at 2:44

you scrach my back i`ll scrach yours same old same old , look at all the boards

x-council same old people .... two or three years on Council after that appointed

to some board .. look @ poor ole Council women D. Balock said she was against

all TAXES yea right ! voted right along with the rest of the lemming !

By: Jughead on 5/16/12 at 3:49

The Chamber just wants its yearly money from Metro to be guaranteed. No reason for the Chamber to have to tighten its belt when it can ream taxpayers to keep those BMW payments current.

This is a sneaky, slimey, tax-n-spend end-around by gov't pukes who laugh at Joe Sixpack.

By: Jughead on 5/16/12 at 3:51

This is just a sneaky move by Karl Marx Dean that he planned during the first term.

I wonder why Karl doesn't decrease spending like the rest of us? Why...because he is a lifelong gov't employee who lives off of his wife's millions in Belle Mead. What a creep and a turd.

By: Left-of-Local on 5/17/12 at 8:45

As a totally independent citizen who supports the very tiny tax increase, I am dismayed that I am not getting my "political pawn" kickback. Vast conspiracy, ahoy!

By: yucchhii on 5/17/12 at 9:03

Again.......WHAT ARE YOU EXPECTING FROM ORGANIZED CRIME?? THESE PEOPLE WHO RUN THIS CITY ARE OUT AND OUT CRIMINALS!!! If We the people do the same things these criminals do, WE go to jail!! BUT these clowns get away with it!! THAT IS THE SIMPLE TRUTH!! The gang of slugs are being led by the DISHONERABLE MAYOR KARL "DINK"!!

By: JohnGalt on 5/17/12 at 10:24

The Mayor and Metro Council knew full well when they accepted the money to pay for the police for three years that they would have to pick up that cost at the end of the period or pony up big bucks. Any competent person would have immediately set up a reserve fund to continue the salaries and avoid the penalty. Notice I said COMPETENT.

The Mayor and Metro Council instead waltzed blithely down the road ignoring their coming responsibilty and now hope to solve their problem by dipping further into the pockets of Metro citizens. This is pure dereliction of duty. They should be told a resounding NO!

By: Ask01 on 5/17/12 at 7:25

Well put, JohnGalt.

For Metro Nashville leadership(?) to sound the alarm about losing police positions when the blame lies firmly with those raising the issue seems truly dishonest. and perhaps more than a little manipulative.

After sinking so much money into other projects when they knew this was coming due smacks of, in my opinion, incompetence and negligence at best, and downright criminal intent at worst.

Honestly, this recalls a classic sitcom plot in which someone, usually the husband, loses, wastes, or gambles away the rent money, and has to concoct some outlandish scheme to come up with the money.

In the case of Mayor Dean and Metro government, the 'scheme' is to pick the taxpayer pockets.

Of course, in real life, one would have to give up something else, sell or pawn some belongings, or otherwise do without to pay the bill. Not pick your neighbors pocket. The solution is Mayor Dean and the upper level management of Metro Government should make good on the shortfall personally, since they are to blame for not planning ahead.

Oh wait. I forgot. They did plan ahead. This was probably the plan all along to overspend, over-commit, and under budget so they could cry the end was near to scare citizens into accepting the tax increase.

Somehow, I don't believe the majority are buying the tall tales.

By: Moonglow1 on 5/18/12 at 7:53

Moonglow1: Take the big tax break given to HCA to help cut deficits.

By: Jughead on 5/18/12 at 12:14

Ream homeowners because you can. Thanks, Karl Marx Dean and the rest of you dbag councilpukes.

Dean has plenty of $$$$ to but $2k tables at ritzy Easter Seals dinners. Yet, we have to tighten our belt so he can buy votes.

By: Ask01 on 5/18/12 at 10:24

Please allow me to interject my prediction of the next phase of this project, which will, I believe, cost Metro Nashville money and, if I'm right, will set up Nashville and Tennessee to be, once more, national laughing stocks.

Just south of Mayor Dean's Ego Monument is situated the Nashville Rescue Mission. Further south, along 8th Avenue one can find free clinics and other organizations offering services to the unemployed.

Does anyone actually believe Mayor Dean and 'Karl's Kommandos' AKA Metro Council and the businesses supporting them will actually allow those institutions to continue to exist in such close proximity to their shiny new toy?

I am distrustful enough of our leadership(?) I believe the organizations supporting the poor, homeless, and other unfortunates have been already been targetted and would be unsurprised if a new initiative was announced to relocate them to a 'more suitable area' where they can continue their important work. (Just so long as they are not visible to conventioneers. Not sure if that is a real word, but if politicians can make up words on the fly, why not a poor working shmoe? Besides, the phrase makes me think of Mousketeers, somehow apropo.)

Returning to the actual theme, I suspect any low income housing, or businesses frequented by those in residence, too close to Mayor Deans Pharonic Monument, which might cause safety concerns for pre convention advance parties, is also on the radar and thus in the sights.

The real question then, is how much will the city be forced to pay to move the offending entities from current locations, and how long the court battle will drag as each affected goes to court?

Guard your wallet fellow citizens, I fear more surprises are yet to be revealed in this epic saga of one man's search for political immortality.

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