Weekly Update


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Just like you, the city of Memphis has a budget. And, unfortunately for us all, the City budget has been getting tighter each year since the gradual repeal of the Hall Income Tax, which will completely phase out next year.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this tax, the Hall Income Tax is a state tax on interest and dividend income from investments. It is the only state tax that is levied on personal income. Unless the taxpayer qualifies for an exception, it is applied to all taxable interest and dividend income in excess of $1,250/person ($2,500 for married filing jointly). The revenues from the tax are shared with the government of the municipality or county where the taxpayer lives.

That last part is the kicker. Because of the repeal, the City of Memphis has taken around a $15 million haircut to our annual budget. That’s real money folks. It’s less money for public safety, paving roads, filling potholes, and the overall delivery of City services.

But, there may be some light at the end of the tunnel.

This week started the 111th General Assembly of our State Legislature, and we have been in Nashville the last two weeks pushing our legislative agenda and sharing ideas for a possible solution to make up some of the difference from the loss of the Hall tax revenue.

Facing tough financial times in the early 2000’s, the State made increases and changes in the way they collect sales taxes. They raised the state sale tax rate from 6% to 7%, and didn’t allow cities their share of the increase. During the same time period, the State also increased the amount of an individual sale item that is subject to the sales tax from $1,600 to $3,200, but kept the cities’ portion of the tax collected on sales above the $1,600.

All that to say—we’re asking the State for our fair share of those sales tax dollars, and we’re working hard to make sure it happens. This is not a tax increase; it’s a redistribution of existing taxes. We’ll keep informed on how it turns out.

Fire promotions: Tonight, we will promote 25 firefighters within your Memphis Fire Department. On behalf of the entire City of Memphis, we say congratulations to them. They are some of our brightest stars, and the best of the best.

We also thank them for what they do every single day in our city to keep our citizens safe and to make Memphis the great city that it is.

If you see a member of our public safety team—please thank them. They do amazing work every single day, and we can never say those words enough.

Mentoring Month: January is National Mentoring Month, and if you’re not aware, I am a strong advocate for mentoring. Early in my first term, I made a call to action to the City and our employees do at least one of three things—mentor a child, help a child learn to read, and adopt a block to pick up litter.

Since then, we’ve had hundreds answer that call. Here’s a quick video that highlights one city employee and the work they’re doing to change a young person’s life.

At my swearing-in earlier this month, I focused the call to action on the one thing that can have the most long-term beneficial impact on Memphis—early childhood literacy.

If you’re looking for a way to get involved, check out the Memphis Grizzlies Foundation, Volunteer Odyssey, or one of my personal favorites—Arise2Read.


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