MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - It could have been better, it could have been worse. Memphis City Council members have approved a budget that cuts property taxes. You'd think a property tax cut would mean that the birds would be singing, the bees would be buzzing, and everything would be ice cream and cake in a happy Bluff City, but it's not.
The gang got together for a little chat at city hall. They got a free lunch and dinner out of the deal. (Thank you taxpayers for the keeping your city council members well fed, by the way.)
They got down to talking about budgets. The council was going to cut property taxes, but one way they could do it was raise the cost of insurance on city employees, who got their pay cut by more than four and a half percent last year.
At least a few council members didn't like that idea.
"This will be very punitive not only to the retirees, but also to those employees who were cut 4.6 percent," Councilwoman Janis Fullilove stated Tuesday night.
The council voted to take $20 million out of a city savings fund for retired workers and took more money out of the Memphis government savings fund. That's how they paid for schools and a lot of other things, and cut taxes as well.
"We made sure the emphasis was parks and neighborhoods and people, things that really matter," said Councilman Lee Harris. "Libraries and museums, community centers, all those things are going to stay open, all those things got funding."
To hear Lee Harris speak, it would seem only a terrorist would not like this budget.
If that's the case, meet "Osama-Bin-Angry-At-Government-For-A-Long-Time." Mike Williams, President of the Memphis Police Association, says once again employees get slammed by a budget that hits them in the pocketbook.
"It's always about cutting employees," he said, "The employees once again, and former employees, end up paying for the tab."
The head of the city's financial division is no big fan of the cuts, worried the city's credit rating will drop. If it does, City Councilman Harold Collins says the solution would be easy. Just raise taxes next year.