EDITORIAL 

Telling It Plain

The proposed county government budget unveiled on Monday by Mayor A C Wharton is a document that raises more questions than it answers -- no doubt intentionally so. Unlike his counterpart, Memphis mayor Willie Herenton, Shelby County's chief executive often uses the devices of indirection and conciliation to make his points.

Ergo, the hard realities of Wharton's budget presentation were presented in an optimistic package. A property-tax increase would probably not be necessary, said the mayor. His budget, as projected, foresees a deficit of some $7.6 million -- a shortfall that can be made up, Wharton suggested, by some combination of spending cuts and new revenue. The former prospect is somewhat disingenuously included, in that all departments of county government have been squeezed relentlessly the past two years. Indeed, Sheriff Mark Luttrell, who made a series of well-publicized cuts in his budget upon his accession to office in 2003, is requesting additional money, some $5 million worth, to fill some of the very jobs he had previously eliminated.

Moreover, both the city and county schools systems have made it abundantly clear, each of the last two years, that their very viability is threatened by the mere prospect of having to hold on without additional funding.

And there's the elephant in the room -- a burgeoning $1.7 billion debt. With each passing year, the cost of servicing it goes up, and the present curve is astronomical.

All of which leaves on the table, more or less by itself, the matter of new revenues -- in particular, the real estate transfer tax which Wharton has proposed and which the county commission, by unanimous vote across party lines, has endorsed. Wharton's unspoken message to the state legislators who now control its destiny: Pass it or else -- the else being another inevitable reach into the pockets of homeowners.

Keep the Flyer Free!

Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.

Now we want to expand and enhance our work.
That's why we're asking you to join us as a Frequent Flyer member.

You'll get membership perks (find out more about those here) and help us continue to deliver the independent journalism you've come to expect.


Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Blogs

Tiger Blue

NIT: Creighton 79, Tigers 67

News Blog

U of M Announces New Tuition Structure

We Saw You

A Great Day for the Irish - and Beale Street. And more!

Intermission Impossible

Farce Meets Horror in a Top Notch Radiant Vermin

News Blog

State: Keto, Paleo Diets Boon to Tennessee Farmers

News Blog

Memphis Ranked on Dog Parks

Politics Beat Blog

If It's a Thursday Night in March, There Must Be Candidate Events

Hungry Memphis

Barbarossa Brothers Opening Downtown

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Us

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Flyer Staff

Readers also liked…

ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2019

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation