Manipulating the Electorate

Yesterday, a joint press conference was held by Memphis Mayor AC Wharton in regards to the Shelby County Sales Tax referendum next month. Originally, the Memphis City Council voted to raise its sales tax and when that happened Shelby County voted to place it on the ballot for November.

However, yesterday, the mayor and Shea Flinn along with many other distinguished guests came together in lock step to support the county sales tax. It seems that the action that sealed the deal was a commitment to Wharton and Flinn that the monies collected from the Shelby County Sales Tax for schools would go to fund expansion of pre-k programs for all of Shelby County.

Two weeks ago Jeff Warren brought a resolution that stated the SCS would use all proceeds from the Sales Tax increase to go to fund pre-k. Obviously, a resolution stating this and approved by our board would have been reason for Wharton to believe that this would happen. However, Jeff modified the language since the will of the board was that it was ill-timed, illogical, and irresponsible to commit those kind of funds to an optional program. With more than a 60 million dollar gap to close without pre-k, it was very unlikely that we ould have the funds to increase this program.

The next week Jeff Warren brought a new proposal that stated the SCS would aspire to make pre-k funding a priority. That measure passed as it was largely aspirational. I opposed on the grounds that we needed to determine all of our priorities before we waded into this one. It passed this past Thursday night.

All of these actions by Warren were nothing more than a justification for Wharton to support the sales tax. However, the SCS did NOT approve any document that stated our commitment to fund these programs at all.

With that said, either Wharton knows this and is twisting and distorting the board action or he is being misled. The reality is that the message that is being presented to Memphis and Shelby County at-large is that they can tell you where this money is going and dictate board actions.

They cannot… and the unfortunate actions taken yesterday are just one of many untruthful, lies to the public to manipulate them into approving a sales tax.. Sad but unequivocally true…


2 Responses to Manipulating the Electorate

  1. Esau says:

    Excellent synopsis of the issue. I want to thank you for your efforts. They are greatly appreciated.

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