MEMPHIS, Tenn — In tonight’s Ransom Note: under the radar.
With so much going on, it’s sometimes hard to keep you informed about other news.
For example, a proposal for a 180-day moratorium on all those controversial property tax breaks we use to lure or keep companies and jobs here; called a payment in lieu of taxes.
We also know them as PILOT.
Commissioner Tami Sawyer sponsored the measure. She told the Memphis Business Journal she didn’t expect it to pass but hoped to start a conversation.
The Greater Memphis Chamber fired back.
President and CEO Beverly Robertson said, “I appreciate any meaningful dialogue around incentives. I am, however, tremendously concerned by the disturbing notion that we need to stop offering incentives to have a needed discussion about incentives.”
What Robertson is too nice to say is the way Sawyer chose to “discuss” it sends the message that Memphis is not business friendly. Just introducing the measure could jeopardize conversations underway right now with current and future employers.
Look, everyone agrees PILOT's are a necessary evil, but supporters say it’s to compete with other cities for jobs.
Yes, the program needs tightening up.
We need to be able to claw back better when companies don’t hold up their end of the deal.
But if Sawyer wanted a conversation, this was not the way to do it.
She was the only one voting yes.