Memphis/ Politics & Govt
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Published on April 17, 2024
Memphis Mayor Paul Young Proposes Property Tax Hike to Tackle $30 Million Budget ShortfallSource: City of Memphis

Memphis Mayor Paul Young has signaled his intention to seek a property tax increase to address a budget shortfall of $30 million, he announced during his 100 Days in Office speech at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church. The fiscal gap, driven by dwindling federal funds and inflating pension costs, has necessitated this move toward fiscal recalibration, the mayor explained.

In remarks captured by FOX13 Memphis, Mayor Young was upfront about the plan. "When I go to City Council next week to present our budget," he said, "I'm going to ask for a tax increase. Put it out there, straight and plain, so you hear it straight from me. No secrets. We're gonna ask for it." However, the precise rate of the tax hike remains under wraps, pending a reveal in the upcoming budget presentation to the City Council.

Despite the financial challenges, Young underscored positive developments in public safety, referring to a TBI report indicating a reduction in major violent crimes by 10% and a 22% decrease in major property crimes in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the prior year. However, he acknowledged that statistics bear little weight if the citizens do not feel secure. "If Memphis citizens do not feel safe, numbers do not matter," he stated.

In addition to fiscal measures, the mayor celebrated a philanthropic gesture—a $50 million challenge grant from Blue Meridian to the city, which requires matching local donations. This windfall was mentioned by the mayor as a critical infusion poised to bolster community initiatives. Young also paused to honor the late officer Joseph McKinney, whose recent line of duty death was a somber touchstone in the day's proceedings. Local reactions to the proposed tax increase vary, with some citizens like Vester Taylor expressing support in comments to Local Memphis, saying "It’s needed." Meanwhile, others like Peggy Robertson seek assurances that the additional funds will benefit a broader swath of the community.

Notably, Memphis residents are already shouldering the weight of Tennessee's highest taxes, a burden that makes any prospective increase a delicate proposition. As residents await further details, the mayor promises to minimize the impact "to the extent that we can," according to remarks obtained by The Daily Memphian.