MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell has vetoed a resolution recently passed by commissioners to place a referendum on the November ballot to raise the sales tax county-wide a half percent.
The Shelby County Commission voted Monday, August 13 to have voters in Memphis, Millington and unincorporated areas of Shelby County decide on raising the sales tax in order to help fund the Shelby County Unified School District. Because voters in five of the six suburban municipalities already voted to increase the sales tax during the August 2 election, they would not vote on this issue.
Mayor Luttrell voiced concern immediately following the resolution's passing. He said he wanted commissioners to follow procedures first, and if it was determined a tax increase was needed to fund schools, that’s when they should ask for one. “To consider a tax increase in anticipation of what we think the cost is going to be is not an appropriate way to budget,” Luttrell said.
In an August 23 news release, Luttrell announced he had vetoed the resolution. “I felt the commission’s action was premature. As I’ve stated many times, I believe we must review all options regarding the school budget before initiating a tax increase,” he stated in the release. “With a close review of the school budget, we may be able to make recommendations that could prevent a sales tax increase. It’s important that we look at every aspect of the schools budget before we create an additional tax burden for the citizens.”
Shelby County Commissioners can override the mayor's veto with eight votes, which would send the issue to the voters to decide in November.