VOL. 129 | NO. 139 | Friday, July 18, 2014
Wharton Clarifies He Won't Propose Sales Tax Ballot Question
By Bill Dries
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. clarified Thursday, July 17, that he has no intention of proposing a ballot question later this year asking city voters to approve a half cent increase in the city’s local option sales tax.
The statement follows a general call during Tuesday’s Memphis City Council session by Memphis Police Association president Mike William to put such a tax hike to city voters with the estimated $47 million in revenue it would generate being used to restore cuts to city employee and retiree health insurance benefits starting January 1.
No one on the council has come forward with the referendum ordinance necessary to do that.
Wharton said Tuesday that he could perhaps support such a move.
But Thursday, he not only ruled out proposing it, but also said the budget for the current fiscal year that includes the health insurance cuts should move ahead without amendments.
“I respect the people’s right to vote,” Wharton said in the Thursday statement of a sales tax ballot question. “But, it is necessary that everyone understand that for us to comply with state law and move forward in addressing our issues with pension and healthcare reform, we must implement the plan we have outlined in the budget resolutions as passed.”