VOL. 131 | NO. 254 | Thursday, December 22, 2016
Kelsey Proposes $50M Sales Tax Shift to Memphis
State Sen. Brian Kelsey of Memphis is proposing a shift in state sales tax revenue that could mean at least $50 million in additional sales tax revenue for the city of Memphis.
Kelsey unveiled the plan Tuesday, Dec. 20, as the Shelby County delegation to Nashville met with local constituents in advance of the Jan. 10 opening of the legislative session.
Kelsey would shift a half-cent of the state sales tax rate to cities across the state, which Kelsey estimates is $500 million in new revenue for local governments. The Memphis share of that would be $50 million.
Kelsey says a state revenue surplus is what makes the shift possible.
“Our cities are struggling financially,” Kelsey said in a statement. “The state has a surplus. The state should help our cities keep our property taxes low.”
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and other city leaders are bracing for a loss of approximately $14 million in revenue with the phase out of the Hall state income tax on dividends and other investment income.
– Bill Dries
Weirich Opens ‘Community Prosecution’ Unit in Frayser
Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich is preparing to open a satellite prosecutor’s office for the Frayser-Raleigh area.
Weirich announced the “community prosecution” plan Monday, Dec. 19, at Ed Rice Community Center in Frayser.
The new office will be at the Old Allen police station on the Frayser-Raleigh border. Assistant District Attorney General Carrie Shelton will work out of the precinct and coordinate with victim witness coordinators and support staff at the Criminal Justice Center Downtown headed by Assistant District Attorney Neal Oldham.
“The community prosecutor will be building relationships with law enforcement, neighborhood watch groups, schools, businesses and other community-based organizations,” Weirich said in a written statement.
With the start of the effort in January, the cases developed by Shelton and her staff will go to General Sessions Court Judge Gerald Skahan and Criminal Court Judge John Campbell.
A similar effort is being planned at the Tillman Police station.
The Frayser area once had a community court with prosecutors and judges trying minor offenses in a courtroom set up at the Northgate shopping center.
– Bill Dries
Tigers Lose Boca Raton Bowl To Western Kentucky
The Western Kentucky offense was billed as explosive and it proved to be true as the Hilltoppers defeated the University of Memphis 51-31 in the Boca Raton Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 20.
WKU rolled up 598 yards and also used a little trickery as offensive lineman Forrest Lamp scored on a 9-yard touchdown pass. Running back Anthony Wales rushed for 245 yards and three scores.
Memphis ended the season, its first under coach Mike Norvell, at 8-5. Quarterback Riley Ferguson threw for 372 yards with four TDs and an interception. Wide receiver Anthony Miller caught 11 passes for 151 yards and three TDs.
But the Tigers never got their ground game going. WKU held them to 73 yards on 32 carries – a 2.3 average. Memphis also lost two fumbles and was -2 in turnover margin for the game.
Kicker Jake Elliott made four extra points to finish 202 of 202 for his career. Ferguson set a school record with 32 TD passes this year, and Miller established a school record with 14 TD catches in a season.
Norvell was disappointed but not discouraged after the loss: “We’ve got a lot of confidence in where we’re going.”
– Don Wade
GiVE 365 Now Accepting Grant Applications
GiVE 365, the dollar-a-day philanthropy initiative of the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, is accepting grant applications from area nonprofits.
The theme for this year’s grant cycle is Foundations for the Future. In an effort to address some of the many causes of local poverty, grants will support programs that help youth meet their potential.
Grants will fund programs or projects that offer opportunities for young people to learn and develop in areas including education, mentoring, behavioral health and support groups, entrepreneurship, the arts and technology.
Applications are due online at give365memphis.org by Feb. 6. Members will hear pitches from the final applicants on April 11, and grant awards will be announced on May 9.
– Andy Meek
Haslam: GOP Colleagues Seek Delay on Road Funding Plan
While Gov. Bill Haslam says he’s ready to unveil his plan to boost road funding in Tennessee, he says he’s putting off making any proposal public until fellow Republicans in the Legislature have time to explore their own funding ideas.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports the governor didn’t tell reporters which lawmakers had asked for the delay, or when he expects them to present their own proposal.
Lawmakers convene the 110th General Assembly for their organizational session on Jan. 10, but aren’t scheduled to get down to their regular business until Jan. 30 when Haslam is expected to deliver his annual state spending plan.
Haslam has argued new funding is needed to tackle a $6 billion backlog in road projects. The gas tax was last raised in 1989.
– The Associated Press