When I heard today John Branston was leaving The Memphis Flyer, I had the same reaction I did when I heard the Graham family was selling The Washington Post - my jaw dropped.
A former Flyer employee, I do not know of another writer with such a pure vision of journalism - a role model.
Without Branston on the scene, I think I'll go hide under my bed.
We will miss you indeed!
love you, John, you have always blown the fresh air around in Memphis. Enjoy the rest of your life.
Tell the truth. You need to spend more time keeping the kids off your lawn. Especially the ones on bicycles.
We need more John Branstons in this town.
John has been (and in some guise may continue to be) on my list of the Top Ten journalists nationwide. His eye is keen and his writing is like his tennis game -- swift, direct, and fluid. And -- mirabile dictu in a field rife with knee-cappers -- he's companionable. I'll miss working alongside him.
Say it ain't so! For years, John Branston has been the best journalist in town. We can only hope that, Sinatra-like, he unretires.
No, it's bad for both the muni government and the muni school system. If Millington produces $1M in sales tax per year due to the increase, they will only get back about $600,000 because of population density. Millington has a much smaller school age population and thus the money will go to a larger school district. This will happen in Germantown also. Germantown produces a large amount of sales tax compared to the school age population. It hurts Bartlett and Collierville as well. These older communities have enough business development to support the sales tax.
Arlington and Lakeland would benefit because they have less sales tax generated compared to their student population.
Someone asked about the portion of the school system's budget that comes from the local sales tax. Found the Shelby system's budget online. These are the proposed figures before final adoption so I believe they were amended somewhat. The local sales tax revenue projection should not have changed. The general fund budget total was $1.15 billion with $139.3 million, or 12.1 percent, coming from the local sales tax. When operational, the new municipal districts would receive an ADA share of the $139.3 million.
Some comments have been made about the difficulty in getting voters in the unincorporated areas to vote for a sales tax increase. It appears to me that it would be easier to get approval in the unincorporated areas than it would be in Memphis. My assumption is that most of the unincorporated residents make most of their purchases in Memphis or one of the other municipalities. If that is the case, they would already be paying the increase if it is approved in Memphis. Making the increase countywide would shift money away from Memphis (and the other municipalities). It would go to schools some of which would be serving the unincorporated areas whatever the configuration of schools winds up being. On another point, having all the local sales tax rate countywide would be a plus for the new municipal school districts although it might be a negative for some of the suburban municipal governments. The municipal districts would receive an ADA share of the countywide sales tax increase. And if the rate shift resulted in some of the municipal governments having to come up with additional funds to meet the state requirement for municipal funding, the municipal districts involved would receive that money also.
Wharton and his AP panel are either short sighted or they know the tax isn't going to pass. Either way, the idea that the CC8 wants the system to take Head Start should have been a wake up call.
I would bet that only some of the munis would benefit from the county wide sales tax. Grown Collierville and Bartlett would have been hurt if the vote in Nov was different. Also they can only put it on the ballot for unincorporated if Memphis passes theirs.
I'm with AP, that's a pig flying situation.
The local sales tax for schools cannot be reduced. That is state law. If that we're possible I'm sure Memphis would have turned the whole town into a tourism district!
I think AP is right, the state has to approve because they will be on the short end, not the schools.
The last figures I have for Arlington are a couple of years old, but total revenue from all county tax sources for that year to Arlington schools was about $17 Million, of which our share of the local option taxes were about $4.34 million, or approximately 25%.
If you include all projected revenues, including state funding and other funding souces, the percentage of total funding which is local option tax is about 12%.
Interesting take on the attempt to have Pre-K placed back under the school system. I cannot imagine the City allowing themselves to get back on that MOE hook.
If the CC8 put the tax increase for the unincorporated areas it would still not affect the munis. With our 1/2 cent sales tax increase we know almost all of the money will go to our schools if not all. So our increase can not be affected by anything the CC8 does. I know that just drives them nuts but c'est la vie.
Have they discussed how much money a Memphis 1/2 cent increase would go to the fairgrounds project? I don't know anything about floating bonds to pay for something like that but if they were able to do that I think everybody would be ecstatic. Can Memphis increase the tax they have on hotel and motel rooms? It seems like that might be another option. I have no idea how much that would bring in but why not. There might be a lot of little increases on things that would help out.
Word is we could get riverboat gambling. The legislature said they would look at it when Shelby county could build a snowman if front of the state building 20 feet tall in August. They said it had to be real snow though. ;)
Yeah, I guess the SCC could try and convince the unincorporated voters to approve a one-half cent increase in their sales taxes. I would like to see them make the case to those folks as to why they should vote for that.
In the meantime I will file that idea under "When Pigs Fly".
Still would not be money taken from the schools for the Fairground , which I think was your original issue.
The last time the County Commission put the countywide sales tax increase on the ballot the municipalities had allready approved the one-half-cent increase. The municipalities would have lost half the revenue from the one-half cents to countywide sales tax funding for schools if voters in Memphis and the unincorporated areas had approved the one-half-cent increase. It was voted down. The only prohibition the rejection placed on the commission was that it could not bring the proposal back up for a year. If Memphis voters approve a Memphis-only increase, the County Commission could put the county increase back on the ballot. This time the only people who could vote on it would be the residents in the uncorporated area. If those voters approved the countywide tax, the one-half cent municipal-only taxes, including the increase approved in Memphis, would become part of the 2.75 percent countywide tax, which would still be the state maximum. One-half of that revenue from the then countywide one-half -cent increase would come back to municipalities based on collections there. The other half of the revenue wouild go to schools across the county and would be divided ADA. I believe in the long run school districts in most if not all of the municipalities would receive more funding from the one-half cents being on the county rate than under the current situation. However, revenue from the increased county sales tax could not be counted as a municipal contribution to schools, and some of the municipalities might have to turn to the property tax or some other source to meet the state requirement for municipal school funding. I am just trying to provide information on this.
You are correct. That is why that part of the sales tax is called a "local option tax".
The part of the sales tax that is routinely spread to the schools is part of the state of Tennessee's fixed share of the total sales tax, which is returned pro rata in the form of the state's BEP program. This is only part of the state's share, the rest going to fund the state's other expenses. It is that "rest" that is going to be affected by this project, and why the state's approval is needed.
The remainder of the sales tax we all pay is the formentioned "local option" which is under the control of the individual local authority and not part of the SCC's ADA distribution. No money will be drained away from the schools. Believe me, if that were the case the screams would have already been heard.
Like you, I voted for the increased sales tax in Alington and I know exactly where it is is going. Had the SCC suceeded in passing the county-wide tax, they would have been in position to take some of our local option money and distribute it to Shelby County Schools since the increase would have been county-wide and those local option funds would be under the authority of the SCC.
However, Memphis turned the county-wide increase down. Now all the suburbs local option money is theirs, and theirs alone, to distribute. I do think that half of any passed increase is required to go to the local authority's schools. In our case, that money will go to our local municipal school system.
Local option funding for schools, in Memphis case, is not affected by the Fairgrounds project one way or the other.
Can you provide the sales tax numbers? I would like to know what percentage of the school budget is from sales tax.
Last Nov the county sales tax was defeated by Memphis citizens and unincorporated citizens. The munis had no say because we had already raised ours. I believe they have to wait at least a year to try again.
In the mean time Memphis is trying to raise the city sales tax for Memphis to pay for pre-k and lower property tax. I believe this tourism will only affect diversion of money toward that goal.
Typical Memphis, yes we passed the sales tax but we can't lower your property tax since we are giving some sales tax to the fairgrounds project.
This will not effect muni sales tax.
Nor will this effect county MOE.
Memphis was able to lower MOE each too me the county raise revenues to the school system.
The money going into the system(s) cannot be lowered, only changes in the revenue streams. If the city of Memphis diverts sales tax money from Memphis, the county has to figure out how to make up for that loss.
There is an effort in Nashville to put pre-k under the school systems. This would put Memphis on the hook for MOE again if they start a pre-k program.
I don't think it will happen
You can believe someone else if you like, but I voted on the tax for Germantown and I know exactly where it goes and the CC8 can't touch a dime of it. You can ask AP about his in Arlington because I don't know about theirs or Colliervilles. As I said we are at the state maximum unless the legislature changes the law. As for the fairgrounds project I hope all the cards will be put on the table for that. And I believe that this project is a Memphis project and not a Shelby County project. Since the CC8 tax was voted down Memphis can still vote on an increase in their sales tax and distribute it any way the city council decides. But me personally I don't think it will pass. Have any of them passed in the past when Memphians were allowed to vote on it? As I said earlier, the project would be nice for Memphis. New jobs for probably thousands of people, construction companies, crews, support, materials and a lot of other businesses. Someone will probably try and throw a wrench in it saying it will not be for the majority od Memphians but everyone has an opinion, right or wrong.
OTP is correct. The division of the sales tax money would be as I have stated it. I am not arguing for or against the fairgrounds project or for or against any set of schools. However, I do not think it is a good thing for a development project to drain money away from schools in general. Another point: If Memphis voters approve the one-half-cent sales tax increase this fall and that increase is later converted to a countywide increase, Memphis will lose half the new revenue that council members have pledged will go to a pre-K program and a reduction in city property taxes. That is something which city officials have so far neglected to tell voters.
JCV40 has done their homework.
You are wrong!
By Louis Goggans
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