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Tennessee group stops school tax increase

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Dear Editor,

We managed to stop our property tax increase last week here in my Tennessee hometown.  The board of commissioners was not only prepared to vote the increase, when I called the County Clerk’s office, to find out my 2016 taxes, she said she was just waiting for the final numbers on the increase.  (The vote had not even been taken yet!)

 

I was steamed.  A bunch of us got together and wrote an expose in the local paper explaining what happens when the commissioners vote to raise taxes for school “debt service.”  Then we explained the sneaky trick of calling for a “substitute motion” to quietly raise the taxes without specifically saying what the money is for.  On the night of the vote we filled the room with townspeople from both political parties and handed out “No Tax Increase” signs.

 

When the snake of a commissioner called for the “substitute motion” we were already on the edge of our seats.  The result was that no one had the guts to second the motion and the old tax rate was approved for another year.  We now have the names of the folks behind the increase and will work to eliminate at least one during the next cycle.

 

Of course, this will not always work, but I think it illustrates why it is so important that we keep authority at the local level.  This is where the people have the most powerful impact and the best chance to change government.

 

John Anthony, Tennessee

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