Voters Approved A Sales Tax Increase For Police & Firefighter Pensions, Yet The Battle Continues

MEMPHIS, TN — City Hall took them away. Voters gave them back.

It sounds simple.

Last fall, Memphis voters approved raising the sales tax in the city by half a cent. The money raised would pay to restore pensions and benefits to firefighters and police officers.

Thomas Malone of the Firefighters Association said, “According to the state comptroller and the state treasurer, it’s got to be used for what the citizens dictate it be used for.”

The increase started last July. The supporters expect it to bring in about $54-million a year.

Memphis homeowners will not have to pay increased property taxes.

“The budget is like it was,” Malone says. “It does not have any effect on property taxes.”

This has been a six-year battle between the city council and the associations. The city council voted against the same plan voters approved last November.

According to Malone, “We’ve got out of towners who will be paying this money every day. They use our services. They use our streets, our police department, our fire department. And they’re going to be paying for that use through the sales tax.”

City council members are planning to have a private meeting with their lawyer Tuesday afternoon, where it is expected they will get the latest on a legal fight concerning the pensions.


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