Memphis mulls half-cent tax raise - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Memphis mulls half-cent tax raise

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Stop if you have heard this before. The city of Memphis sales tax could be going up.

Sound familiar? It should.

Voters shot down a Shelby County-wide sales tax option during the November 2012 election, but city council might try a "Memphis only" hike.

The issue was discussed Tuesday when the council met for the first time in the new year.

The sales tax is another half-cent proposal that would go before the voters. But council members say this time would be different. The last proposal was shot down almost 3 to 1 by voters.

Council members say this "Memphis only" hike would raise about $47 million a year for the city. It would be used for all new programs for the citizens.

Council members who support the measure say they would put $27 million in a trust to be used for Pre-K education that could cover the city's 9,000 4-year-olds.

The other $20 million would go toward lowering the property tax rate.

"The public should not and will not help us balance the budget with new taxes," said Councilman Jim Strickland. "But if we propose some things new and explain to them how important it is, they have a choice to make. I think they will choose to vote yes on this."

"The public would perhaps say even though you're sincere, and Chairman Strickland is very sincere, commitments change all the time as you've noticed under our current administration," added Councilwoman Janis Fullilove.

City council will vote on the issue in committee in two weeks and the full council would vote the meeting after that.

If it passes, voters would see a special election on the issue no later than May.

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