Nashvillians Continue To Push For Taxpayer Protection Act Amidst Lawsuit

Image Credit: Nick Youngson / CC BY-SA 3.0 / Pix4free

Published May 13, 2021

The Tennessee Conservative Staff –

Metro Nashville has issued a lawsuit against Davidson Election Commission in response to putting the anti-tax referendum before voters on July 27. The court has called the initiative to roll back a raise in property taxes unconstitutional. Another lawsuit was filed against the commission by the Nashville Business Coalition.

Tennessee Capitol Building in Nashville

According to the coalition, “The numerous meetings of the Commission are nothing more than an attempt to create an illusion of legitimate proceedings.”

The Tennessee branch of Americans for Prosperity has shown its support for the Taxpayer Protection Act. In August of 2020, they turned in over 20,000 signatures from supportive Nashvillians.

However, it was ruled that the petition would not be allowed on the December ballot as written.

AFP-TN State Director Tori Venable issued a statement that said, “It’s past time Metro officials stop digging their heels in and let Nashvillians decide on whether they want to increase their own taxes. For too long, our city’s finances have been in complete shambles, and Nashvillians are paying the price from years of fiscal mismanagement. Forcing tax hikes on small businesses and families who are trying to recover from the effects of the pandemic won’t solve our underlying fiscal issues. We look forward to Nashvillians making their voice heard and voting to stop this massive tax hike.”

This year, 4GoodGovernment relaunched the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act (NTPA). It will roll back Mayor Cooper’s 34-37% tax increase and limit future property tax rate increases to 3% unless voters approve a higher rate.

Jim Roberts, a Nashville attorney, handled the first petition and is also behind the second attempt.

Roberts told The Center Square, “The best use of our time and energy at this point is to redo the ballot initiative in a way that complies with the judge’s criticisms … and put it back in front of the people and get it on the ballot.”

A majority vote on the petition in July would roll back the city’s property tax, bringing it to the same rate it was at in 2019. Voters in Nashville would also gain the power to limit future tax increases.

In the annual Pork Report released by The Beacon Center of Tennessee in December, they called the property tax hike the top example of government abuse in 2020.

The report said, “The mayor and City Council decided to raise the property taxes of hard-working Nashvillians by a whopping 34% while making very few sacrifices themselves. No changes to the unbelievably generous pension system, no spending cap, and of course no repeal of the uniquely egregious lifetime health insurance benefits for City Council members.”

As reported by the Tennessean, the commission “voted 3-2 along party lines Monday to place the initiative on the ballot for a July special election. The approval came after Vanderbilt University Professor Jim Blumstein, recently retained as the commission’s legal counsel, argued in favor of holding the referendum.”

The lawsuit against the referendum argues how valid the petition is. The first attempt showed two election dates, which the lawsuit said violates the Metro Charter. While the number of signatures was recently verified, the lawsuit claims some people have asked to have theirs removed, which could bring the total number below the needed threshold.

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