Coalition: Amendment 3 Is a 'Hidden Tax' For Davidson County
The Coalition for Fair Employment in Middle Tennessee, a group representing the employers of tens of thousands of workers in the building and construction industries, formed this week in opposition to the proposed Charter Amendment 3, an initiative which requires any builder or construction company working on a Metro-funded project with a budget of more than $100,000 to devote at least 40 percent of the project’s work hours to employees who live in Davidson County.
Members of the coalition, which include the Nashville Area Chamber and a variety of engineering, architectural and construction organizations, are working to inform Davidson County voters on the proposed amendment's potential negative impact in terms of costs, construction delays and difficulty of enforcement.
- Amendment 3 sounds good in theory, but in practice, would become a "hidden tax" on Davidson County taxpayers. Passage of this proposal would reduce the number of bidders on public projects in Nashville, add compliance costs for contractors, and lengthen the amount of time needed to staff and complete construction projects. All these factors would result in additional costs passed on to taxpayers.
- If passed, the measure would be costly and difficult – if not impossible – to enforce. The proposal doesn’t define how Davidson County residency is verified and would require the city to hire auditors to review personnel records in order to verify contractors are compliant. Also, it is unclear which Metro department would be responsible for monitoring compliance.
- Nashville is a regional economy; more than half of all workers in the Nashville MSA cross a county line every day to get to work. In the mid-1990s, Metro Council dropped its requirement that all Metro employees be Davidson County residents. Today, approximately a quarter of all Metro employees reside outside Davidson County. While regional workers are discriminated against in the proposed charter amendment, out-of-state employees are exempt from the amendment.
Amendment 3 is one of three ballot measures to be decided by Davidson County voters at the same time as elections for mayor, vice mayor and Metro Council members on Aug. 6. Early voting in Davidson County begins July 17. Coalition leaders invite supporters to encourage others to vote against Amendment 3, to like the Facebook page for the Coalition for Fair Employment in Middle Tennessee and to follow the coalition on Twitter at @jobfairness. Join the conversation using the hashtag #VoteNOon3.
Chamber President and CEO Ralph Schulz speaks to reporters at a press conference announcing the formation of the Coalition for Fair Employment in Middle Tennessee.