Analyzing Nashville’s “Taxing” Budget

Feature, Policy — By on May 21, 2012 at 1:07 pm

NASHVILLE – The Beacon Center of Tennessee, the state’s free market think tank, today released a policy brief analyzing Nashville Mayor Karl Dean’s proposed 2012-2013 budget. The budget recommendation put forward by Dean contains a 13 percent property tax hike and a net spending increase of 7.85 percent.

The Beacon Center’s brief, titled Analyzing Nashville’s “Taxing” Budget, offers alternatives to the tax increase in a short, four-page summary. Based on the Center’s findings, the Metro City Council could balance the budget with no tax increase by making specific reductions and holding the line on excess spending.

Among the proposed changes include maintaining existing funding for public works, libraries, and parks; the elimination of subsidies to private entities; terminating the handout to the half-full Metro General Hospital; an end to wasteful mass transit spending; and the promotion of education reforms instead of mere increases in education spending.

The City Council could reduce Mayor Dean’s proposed budget by as much as $134.2 million with these changes, eliminating the need for a property tax increase. Further, Nashville’s budget could be balanced without pulling a single police officer off the streets, while still offering the proposed four percent pay raise to city employees and preserving existing levels of funding for essential city services.

“By adopting the measures outlined in our brief, Metro City Council members could protect taxpayers against a massive tax hike, all while maintaining existing funding for all essential services, including education and safety,” said Beacon’s president & CEO Justin Owen. “It doesn’t take much digging to find opportunities to present a fiscally-sound budget alternative to the one proposed by the mayor.”

The brief also calls for Metro leaders to seek additional changes, such as managed competition and pension reform, to make further spending reductions and promote the long-term fiscal stability of the city.

The policy brief can be found online at: http://www.beacontn.org/wp-content/uploads/Analyzing-Nashvilles-Taxing-Budget.pdf

The Beacon Center of Tennessee’s mission is to change lives through public policy by advancing the principles of free markets, individual liberty, and limited government. The Center is an independent, nonprofit, and nonpartisan organization dedicated to providing policymakers and concerned citizens with timely solutions to public policy issues in Tennessee.

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