Knoxville City Council will consider a couple of interesting resolutions tomorrow.

One would oppose weakening the state "sunshine law". It would be interesting to find out where City Council members stand on the issue. The Knoxville News Sentinel has the details.

I was surprised to learn that the Tennessee Municipal League and the Tennessee County Services Association support weakening the law. The only thing the law needs is a clear definition of "deliberate" in small words for the benefit of Lumpy and Scooby. City Council hasn't seemed to have any problems understanding it and abiding by it.

The second resolution would request the City of Farragut to put up their fair share of sales tax funding for Knox County Schools. Betty Bean has the details at the Halls Shopper. Farragut administrator Dan Olson's justification for not kicking in more funding is pretty funny.

Both resolutions are being introduced by Knoxville City Council member Rob Frost.

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WhitesCreek's picture

On the Sales Tax issue...Why

On the Sales Tax issue...Why does Knox County believe it deserves more than they are already getting?

If we want to be fair...why not offer to send the tax revenue paid by Roane Countians back there for their schools? Now THAT would be fair!

Frankly, I would propose that some percentage of Sales Tax revenue be designated for schools and paid into a State wide fund and then be distributed on a per student basis.

That would serve to take the fairness question out of sales taxes when Bedroom communities shop in neighboring municipalities.

Mike Cohen's picture

Sales tax

WhitesCreek:

That's exactly what state law does. It takes from the state share of the sales tax and distributes under the BEP formula that takes into account factors such as a lack of retail in counties. It also had some serious flaws...which is why Sen. Hagood worked with Governor Bredesen to get the formula fixed, gaining Knox County $19m a year.

If you want to see unfair, consider that the Lenoir City Utilities Board collects much of it's money in Knox County but pays no "in lieu of" taxes here...keeping it all for itself. KUB and other pro-rate their "in lieu of" taxes on a percentage basis related to where the revenue is generated.

rocketsquirrel's picture

so this statement from

so this statement from townoffarragut.org home page (scroll down) is false:

"Just West of Knoxville Tennessee, Farragut is an upscale residential town that has no debt, it has no real estate taxes for homeowners, it has great schools, a public library, beautifully designed parks, great recreation opportunities and lovely residential subdivisions. It is a great place to live, work and play!"

Town of Farragut has no schools. Knox County does. False and misleading? "IT HAS GREAT SCHOOLS..." I guess it depends on your definition of "it."

Bbeanster's picture

Steve, I rarely disagree

Steve, I rarely disagree with you, but take for instance Turkey Creek, where I presume lots of Roane Countians shop. This monstrosity cost Knoxville and Knox County taxpayers huge bucks to get up and running. There were TIFs and outright grants to the developers, and while the facility makes a lot of money, it also stresses the infrastructure and the environment here.
This stuff doesn't just happen -- somebody has to pay for it, and I don't think it's unfair for the money to stay where it's generated.
I do agree that schools should be funded in an equitable way, though.

WhitesCreek's picture

I understand your point

But that is what property tax is supposed to deal with. Of course it doesn't but that's another battle against short sighted developments like that one.

Bottom line...Roane County sales tax money shouldn't have to support Knox County's mistake. We need the money at home, but in this day of drive and shop, We have Walmart and they have Turkey Creek.

edens's picture

>Roane County sales tax

>Roane County sales tax money shouldn't have to support Knox County's >mistake. We need the money at home

It's Knox County's mistake that Roane Countains drive miles down the road to shop (and, as is true for most "bedroom communities," work)?

WhitesCreek's picture

Not the Mistake I'm talking about

And that's fairly obvious. Turkey Creek is a big damn mess for several reasons, but that's not my complaint here. Knox County and Farragut get their tax opportunity in any number of ways.

I think it's a mistake for Roane Countians to ever spend a dime in Knox County because of the nature of the sales tax arrangement.

But one day...Turkey Creek will look just like the wasteland on Kingston Pike and Knoxville will shopping in Loudon or Roane County if things continue on their present course.

edens's picture

>But one day...Turkey Creek

>But one day...Turkey Creek will look just like the wasteland on Kingston >Pike and Knoxville will shopping in Loudon or Roane County if things >continue on their present course.

Aren't all the people moving out to Roane County's "bedroom communities" making a significant contribution to that westward course?

Yet you propose to further reward said behavior?

WhitesCreek's picture

Yet you propose to further

Yet you propose to further reward said behavior?

I propose nothing of the sort.

You seem to be intentionally misreading what I state, but that isn't germaine to this thread anyway.

edens's picture

Currently, due to sales tax

Currently, due to sales tax distribution, Roane Countians pay a penalty for driving down the road to shop. You suggest doing away with that penalty. Sounds like a reward to me. And it is entirely germane because "bedroom communities" - your term - generate increased school demand within a jurisdiction without generating local sales tax revenue to offset the increase.

R. Neal's picture

But Steve, is Farragut

But Steve, is Farragut giving any of their sales tax revenue to Roane Co, or ever going to?

WhitesCreek's picture

Of course not. But the part

Of course not. But the part of any tax generated by a particular population should go to it's own welfare.

I spend money and I'm taxed on that spending. Now comes the "Why tax?" question. I see taxes as intended to discourage certain monetary expenditures, or to fund programs for the general welfare. Why should sales taxes, which can't be avoided in commerce, be confiscated by geographical advantage of the spending instead of geographical origin of the spender?

Put another way...Why should Roane County Citizen's spending support Farragut's kid's education?

R. Neal's picture

Sounds like y'all need to

Sounds like y'all need to build a bigger Wal*Mart!

Just like Blount Co. did. The side benefit is that Alcoa had to allow liquor stores to offset the loss in sales tax revenue from the Wal*Mart Super Store in Alcoa that moved over to the Wal*Mart Super Store in Maryville.

Just kidding of course. I understand what you're saying, I'm just not sure how practical any solution might be.

Farragut is in Knox County, and has Knox County schools, funded by Knox County taxpayers who have less than excellent schools in other parts of the county while Farragut enjoys some of the best.

WhitesCreek's picture

Actually, we are making the

Actually, we are making the same point with the interchange of the Farragut City Limit with the Roane County line.

Bottom line is that the sales tax is not equitable as it now sits.

R. Neal's picture

Sen. Hagood worked with

Sen. Hagood worked with Governor Bredesen to get the formula fixed, gaining Knox County $19m a year.

Is that the same BEP formula that Hagood voted against funding? (Not trying to pick a fight or anything, just curious.)

The good thing is that it all got sorted out and Knox Co. and other large school systems got some needed extra funding for education, thanks to Democrats in the Tennesse Legislature and the Governor who is also a Democrat (at least on the ballot).

Mike Cohen's picture

Woodson

First off, I apologize for saying Senator Hagood when I meant Senator Woodson.

Secondly, I absolutely gave credit to Governor Bredesen. I've been a fan of his for many years, dating back to voting for him as Mayor of Nashville.

Bredesen played a huge role in fixing the BEP, but it got to that point mostly because of relentless work by Sen. Woodson. Credit her for getting the BEP reopened...in part at the strong urging of Mayor Ragsdale.

Yes, it had a lot of bi-partisan support. Wouldn't have passed without it. But Senator Woodson deserves a huge amount of credit, especially in her role as Chair of the Senate Education Committee.

Best of all, the urban disparity in BEP was fixed with new money...no one in rural areas lost anything. And some of the unique challenges of urban school districts got addressed.

michael kaplan's picture

"First off, I apologize for

"First off, I apologize for saying Senator Hagood when I meant Senator Woodson."

an example of voting for this and getting that ..

Rachel's picture

Both of these resolutions

Both of these resolutions passed unanimously tonight.

And the one about the sunshine law not only passed unanimously, all 9 Council members had their names added as sponsors. AND Haslam said the administration supported the resolution.

Yeah, COK!

"The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones." - John Maynard Keynes

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