An interesting observation by Memphis watchdog Joe Saino. He was looking at sales tax revenues for the city. He saw that in 2007 our local share was $49 million vs. $44 million in 2012. Why the discrepancy? Supposedly our economy has gone out of Bush’s recession under the leadership of B.H.O. Wouldn’t that mean people were able to purchase more now?
Saino comes to an interesting conclusion:
“Think about the increase in food stamps purchases (EBT or SNAP or whatever) in the Memphis area and nationwide. From 2007 to 2012 food stamp spending has doubled. Now consider that no sales taxes are charged on food stamp purchases. I am not advocating that sales taxes should be charged on these purchases as this would be a tax on all tax payers nationwide. Also consider the amount of non profits in Memphis. According to the web there are 4058 non profits in Memphis. Everything purchased by non profits are exempt from sales taxes. When you consider all of these factors, it is understandable that sales tax revenues are going down and the only ones left paying are you, Brothers and Sisters, the taxpayers.”
We are the bottomless source of money to fund any project City Mayor AC Wharton’s people come up with. They look at us as their finance pool. Make no mistake; it’s not about helping the children. It’s about more control over Memphians, more control over what kids are taught and money going to cronies of politicians.
The Commercial Appeal has been pushing this story daily. It made the top of the Sunday newspaper where they discussed how San Antonio passed a similar measure. However, they left out a few relevant facts.
According to the San Antonio newspaper, “Voters approved Pre-K 4 SA for an initial eight-year period. On average over that time, the 1/8th-cent tax is expected to raise approximately $31 million a year to fund the initiative.”
Notice the tax rate was not raised the .5% they want here. That put their total tax rate at 8.25%. Ours is already 9.25% and this pushes it almost to 10%.
San Antonio has one of the lower tax rates in Texas; Memphis has the highest. Texas is enjoying a boom in population as people want to get in on the benefits of a conservative state. Memphis blows our advantage with higher taxes that drive people to the easily accessible Mississippi and Arkansas border towns.
I’ve noticed in some of the pre K sales tax push that the argument that property taxes won’t go up if this is passed surfaces less and less. That’s probably because it’s a hollow promise. No Democrat politician here wants to pledge no new taxes. Even some of our Republican ones renege on it.
The pool isn’t as bottomless and Wharton and his assistant Robert Lipscomb think. It is drowning many of us and that will just continue.