Tax Increase Debatable for Restoring City Employee Pay Cuts

Tax Increase Debatable for Restoring City Employee Pay Cuts

A Memphis City Council contract impasse group is recommending firefighters also get their 4.6 percent pay cut restored. Different committees have recommended the same thing for police and sanitation workers.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - A Memphis City Council contract impasse group is recommending firefighters also get their 4.6 percent pay cut restored. Different committees have recommended the same thing for police and sanitation workers.

Once the police got the impasse committee to recommend they get that pay cut restored, firefighters got the same thing. There's a reason all of these unions are getting the thumbs up by the city council contract impasse committees, a pretty simple one, really.

"A lot of us sit on these impasse committees and listen to the city and unions. You can't help but feel the unions have been treated a little bit unfairly, and you want to do something for them," said Councilman Lee Harris.

Remember something in all of this, because it's important. The employees got a 4.6 percent pay cut two years ago. They were told it would last a year. They're not asking for a raise; they're not asking for anything but getting the pay put back to the level it was two years ago. It would cost the city $16 million.

Thomas Malone with the Memphis Firefighters Association stated, "I've not seen where - and maybe I'm just not thinking outside the box - I've not seen where $16 million generates a tax increase."

If the administration of Memphis Mayor A C Wharton is looking for a place to cut, Councilman Harris has an idea, "I don't think we should be suing the municipalities over schools."

There are members of the city council looking for cuts who are against restoring the 4.6 percent pay cut. Some say the money isn't there, and if everybody gets their cuts restored it will create a huge tax increase.

Harris says, slow down.

"I'm not so sure I'm ready to say exactly by what the tax rate will be," he said. "I think that there's a lot of good folks on the city council and I think they'll work through it, and if I had to make my guess at some point there will be some grand bargaining among the more sober members of the city council. And there are a few of us."

If you think this was a battle, now it goes before the whole council. With the possibility of a big tax increase, that's where you'll see the fight. I'll be watching.

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