“Memphis has a choice right now. We can either become Detroit or we can become Austin, Texas,” said Keith Alexander at our Midtown Republican Club meeting.
The man who is running for Assessor of Property explained that Memphis has the same problems Detroit did. “A high tax rate, pension shortfalls, lack of revenue and people leaving.” Like Austin, he said, “we have a lot going for us. We have a lot of amenities and creative people.”
Alexander votes we go in the path of Austin. He thinks that as property tax assessor he can help that.
“I live in Central Gardens,” Alexander said. “I bought a house for $150,000 but it is appraised at $497,000. I can’t sell it for that short of someone putting a gun to the head.” To right this problem that many in Shelby County have, Alexander decided to run for assessor.
“I’m a lawyer and I could make $50,000 more running for judge. But assessor is a key position for economic prosperity.” He believes politicians have used the property assessments to target certain areas for more financial revenue. “Under the radar politicians can decide that some Memphians can pay more. If elected, I would see that there would be fairness across the board. Every part of Shelby County needs to be appraised fairly.”
Alexander sees that as a reason many are fleeing to other counties.
“Take a look at Shelby County vs. Fayette County. Shelby has the highest property tax in the state. We pay $9 tax per thousand, and in Fayette they pay $1.47. Why would people want to stay here? We need to draw them back in.”
Alexander previously ran for General Sessions judge in 2006. He is a Phi Beta Kappa Graduate of Rhodes College and got his J.D. from the University of Mississippi.
After the meeting he spoke with some of the members and asked if they wanted yard signs. I gave him our address and the next morning a sign was already in my front yard. If he’s that efficient as Property Tax Assessor, the city will do well.