Tax Referendum Is a Sham

I’ve been duped. I want to face this publicly so I can show where I went wrong. A few posts ago, I wrote with enthusiasm about the upcoming vote on the property tax referendum in Davidson County. I was excited because I believed the ultimate power( the spending of money) would have been returned to the people.

I’ve been duped. I want to face this publicly so I can show where I went wrong. A few posts ago, I wrote with enthusiasm about the upcoming vote on the referendum in Davidson County. I was excited because I believed the ultimate power( the spending of money) would have been returned to the people.I was wrong. Like any other legal maneuver this one is a complicated mechanism filled with intricate parts spinning and churning according to its own manual. Another way of looking at it is the referendum people have been misled.

How did that happen? Simple. Referendum or no referendum the people in power have already played this chess move. Some very smart people in a smoke filled room figured out this angle a long time ago. They were not about to give up a rising river of revenue being fed by tiny little streams of income from the little folks.

What the referendum would have done was to put in black and white once and for all that property taxes could not be raised without a public vote. As I pointed out earlier property taxes have gone up as fast as insurance premiums. People are hurting. And one more obstacle has been placed for real estate investors to trip over.

It’s difficult to raise rents fast enough and most of us are already paying a month or two of rent purely for taxes now. That’s a big chunk of our profits. When we dare complain the argument is thrown out at us that children will suffer and school budgets will be cut. That’s simply not a fair argument and the logic just doesn’t really add up. Besides, we’re not anti-child.

Then the libraries were closed every Friday. There wasn’t enough money to keep the lights on and to pay the staffs, so we were told. This was to prove that the money was not there for an educational service that not only benefits children but all of us. It all seems counter productive to me because don’t we need to read more so we can get smarter and produce more money for the coffers? So no matter how much we complained no one seemed to be listening. Nothing changed. That old revenue river just kept on rolling along while we lifted those back-breaking tax bales.

That’s one more reason for the referendum. Folks were getting much more sophisticated, and were growing tired of such nonsense. Maybe we really did read too much during the short times our libraries were open. Anyway, something much more insidious is at work here because none of that matters. The law was written so that all properties are appraised every four years. Maybe it’s a simple concept after all, because "appraised" contains the word "raise". That’s the easy way to figure it out.

Still, what has really happened in Davidson County is that Nashville mayors have always passed property tax hikes along with the . It’s kind of like nitro and glycerin and the explosion happens in our wallets. Where the real fight needs to happen is with the property tax hike. That hike should be eliminated altogether and we should be able to vote on whether to raise it in the future.

What are the lessons here? Yes, you can pass referendums, but don’t expect them to work miracles. Change has to occur on all levels. Sometimes that takes a lot of time. And details are very important. Read the fine print.

But something else needs to be pointed out. Since when did our elected officials stop listening to the people? Isn’t government supposed to be for the people, of the people, and by the people?