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Wheel tax will increase if Shelby County commissioners approve proposal

resolution to raise the county-wide motor vehicle tax.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Local 24 News is looking into a resolution to raise the county-wide motor vehicle tax.

In the fall, the Shelby County Commission voted down a proposed $145 sustainability fee to support MATA. Some county commissioners went back to the drawing board and drafted a revised resolution.

“I know there will be a robust discussion concerning this particular item. It’s going to be very difficult for me to even consider supporting it,” said Shelby County Commissioner Edmund Ford, Jr., who represents District 9.

Next Wednesday the Shelby County Commission General Government Committee will discuss a proposed resolution to increase the wheel tax on your vehicle by $20 annually.

“This is not to take away from any funding that is being provided to Shelby County Schools. That is not the intent,” said Shelby County Commissioner Willie Brooks who represents District 6.

Commissioner Brooks says the goal is to improve the frequency of routes by the county’s public transportation system. He says there is a need.

“We have certain situations where the person riding and taking a bus to and from work it will take them 2 hours to get to work riding the bus,” Commissioner Brooks explained.

However, Commissioner Ford says there has to be a better way than increasing a tax.  He says historically his constituents haven’t been on board with it.

“In 1988, it was imposed to the people of Shelby County for $25 dollars, and then it got increased to 2003 to $50 dollars. There was a promise back then that it will be sunsetted, but that promise was broken,” said Commissioner Ford.

“A tax burden will be on those who are unemployed who are not working at all so we have a large population of people who are not working than we will have a bigger issue as it relates to poverty in Memphis and Shelby County,” Brooks said.

Local 24 News reached out to the other sponsors of the resolution who released the following statements.

“This appears to one of several options that the mayor will discuss at our next committee meeting. I only sponsored this item for discussion purposes only. Much like what occurred with the third car tax, we will hear from the mayor and the citizens of Shelby County before we make any moves. At this point, I am not committed to any plan until the commission and the citizens of Shelby County have any opportunity vet the plan and review the options.” said Shelby County Commissioner Van Turner.

“I am sponsoring so we can get something moving.  We’re behind on our promise to fund transit, and we need to get more ideas on the table and work them out. This builds on the ideas from MICAH, and I’d like to hear in public what people think about it,” said Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer.