Wharton, council propose sales tax increase - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Wharton, council propose sales tax increase

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

You just think selling the idea of raising taxes last fall was hard. Try convincing the Memphis City Council to consider it again.

The proposal could lower the property tax from $27 million that it could produce from the sales tax. The plan is similar to the proposal voted down in 2012 in Shelby County.

"Maybe I should have attended Pre-K because I've been to jail a bunch of times," Councilwoman Janis Fullilove said.

But if questions are not answered, this too will fail.

"A kindergartner can't get him or herself to school," said Councilman Harold Collins. "That has to be a parent issue. We've got to figure out how to work that first before we begin to go down the road of investing $27 million annually for a program they say we're going to get this kind of return."

Mayor A C Wharton's new plan on this not so old idea is supposed to generate that $27 million to fund Pre-K in Memphis.The mayor and council agree when they ask citizens for millions of dollars for Pre-K, the issue may have failed last year because the message wasn't consistent.

Mr. Wharton and council promise this year will be different.

"Before we start getting on the market with this, there will be a hymnal, everybody will say the same thing, the public will not be confused but again," the mayor said. "We didn't do it right the first time. You got to get it right the second time."

But the referendum was so soundly defeated the first time. Many on the council question the wisdom of bringing it up again.

Mayor Wharton claims to be looking at a bigger picture. He, along with other children's advocates, don't see this as a budget idea but rather a rescue mission for the kids; a solid Pre-K program will help most.

If the numbers don't add up, you can be sure the voters will give the administration a failing grade.

This proposal will come before council in two weeks, Where members are expected to vote on the issue.

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