Mayor David Briley, retired professor Carol Swain and At-Large Councilman John Cooper haven’t agreed on much during this year’s mayoral race.
But one issue they found themselves on the same side of this week was opposing an increase to Nashville’s property tax.
The Metro Council rejected the tax hike on Tuesday. While Cooper has tended to critique Briley, he backed the mayor’s budget, which holds to the current tax rate.
“City revenues are up $350 million over the last four years, during this period of our greatest boom, and that should speak for itself. The problem is management, priorities, and balance,” Cooper said on the council floor. “We should not default to a property tax increase until we get all of the management savings and additional city revenues that we should be getting.”
For his part, Briley blasted the proposed tax increase as rushed, while Swain said she’d clamp down on government waste and business incentives instead of raising taxes.
“It is unacceptable that the Dean, Barry, and Briley administrations have given big businesses moving into Nashville big tax breaks and incentives, but want to impose more taxes on the people who live here,” Swain wrote.
But State Rep. John Ray Clemmons used the moment to distance himself from the others and say that he supported a tax increase that would have given more funding to Metro Nashville Public Schools and WeGo, among other departments.
In a sharply worded statement, Clemmons said Briley “robbed” teachers and first responders of adequate pay. He referred to Cooper as an “accomplice” who has served on a council that created a funding “mess.”
“This budget reflects short-sightedness and political self-preservation,” Clemmons wrote. “The time for political dynasties and status quo city management is over.”