Both sides prepare for heated debate on Metro tax increase - WSMV News 4

Both sides prepare for heated debate on Metro tax increase

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The push for a property tax hike in Nashville is shaping up to be a showdown. Supporters for both sides are getting their plans in order before the Metro Council begins its debate.

Susie Jenkins, of Nashville, cares about her granddaughter's education, even if it means a property tax increase on her home.

"As long as the children get a good education and good schools, that's our future there," Jenkins said.

As the Metro Council considers Mayor Karl Dean's proposed 53-cent property tax increase, grassroots groups and professional organizations are mobilizing on both sides.

The Nashville Chamber has come out in support of the increase, and now, a group of community leaders are forming a coalition to rally for an increase.

They plan to hold community meetings and send out pamphlets to educate voters.

"We see this as a major priority. We know it's a difficult decision, and we want to be there to work with the community and talk with folks over the next few weeks, talk with council members and garner their support for greater revenue in the city," said Erik Cole, with Moving Nashville Forward.

But there's also a huge effort to block the proposed increase.

"We don't believe we need this tax increase. We don't believe the mayor has made his case for the increase," said tea party activist Ken Marrero.

The Koch brothers-funded group Americans for Prosperity said taxpayers are under attack because of tax increases. Tea party groups will soon start a massive campaign with yard signs, phone calls, petitions and other efforts to fight against the mayor's budget.

They plan to present the Council with an alternative plan.

"If they don't find an alternative budget that everyone can vote for, the mayor's budget and increase will still go into effect on June 30. So, there has to be an alternative budget presented for there to be any chance of doing away with what the mayor intends," Marrero said.

As with any proposal, the property tax hike will have to be considered three times by the Council. The first reading on the budget and the tax increase is Tuesday night.

The second and third readings are tentatively scheduled for June 5 and 19, and the new budget has to pass by July 1.

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