The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors has taken a position in support of Nashville Mayor Karl Dean’s proposed city operating budget for 2012-2013, and the accompanying property tax adjustment. The Chamber developed the following questions and answers to provide additional insight into our policy process.
I also encourage our members to review the mayor’s State of Metro Address
and full budget presentation
to the Metro Council for additional information on the proposed tax adjustment.
Q. How did the Chamber decide to support the mayor’s property tax adjustment?
The Chamber’s policy process begins with our annual issues survey. Last December, each of our members received a link to an online survey containing a wide range of issues before the Middle Tennessee business community. This year’s survey revealed funding for Metro Schools, job-creation efforts, support of economic development incentives, expansion of our city’s public transit system and continued development of downtown as top priorities for the Chamber to champion. These results informed the creation of our state
legislative agendas, which were approved by the Chamber board in January. The board then uses the legislative agendas and the organization’s policy principles as the basis for taking a position on issues important to the business community.
Q. Doesn't the Chamber support low taxes? A.
Yes, “competitive tax policies” is one of our core policy values.
That is why the Nashville Area Chamber worked with other advocacy organizations to convince the state legislature to phase out the inheritance tax, or "death tax" (SB 3762/HB 3760
), as a strategy to attract and retain investment and jobs in Tennessee.
The mayor made a compelling case to the Chamber board that Metro has avoided a city property tax increase since 2005 by balancing the city budget through $60 million in budget cuts over the last four years. The mayor’s proposed tax adjustment is necessary to support the core services of Nashville, such as education, public safety and economic development. This adjustment will leave the combined property tax rate the lowest among the four largest urban centers in Tennessee. Q. What about the companies that receive tax breaks and incentives from the city? A.
In order to maintain a competitive business environment where companies choose to expand and locate in Tennessee, it is critical to preserve valuable economic development tools, including tax incentives. Nashville is not the only city offering incentives to companies looking to relocate or expand. The competition to bring new, higher-paying jobs to our community is fierce, and without such tools, our region as a whole would be at a competitive disadvantage.
When these companies relocate to our region, hire employees and purchase goods and services in the community, an influx of new tax dollars will increase the city’s tax base. Q. Why does the Chamber take a position at all?
The Chamber’s purpose is to facilitate community leadership to create economic prosperity. Sometimes this means taking bold positions on the difficult issues facing our city. As a large and diverse membership organization, we recognize that an individual member may not always agree with every position. We encourage all our members to participate in our issues survey and share their opinions with elected officials at every level.