Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Dr. Carol Swain to the studio.
At the top of the second hour, Swain described two local grassroots groups she is working with that hope to offer budgetary alternatives in order to avoid Mayor John Cooper’s proposed 32% property tax increase. She urged people to get involved and make their voices heard by going to NoTax4Nash.com and 4GoodGovernment.com and by contacting their local city council members.
Leahy: We are joined in studio by our good friend and all-star panelist former Vanderbilt professor and mayoral candidate Carol Swain. Good morning Carol.
Swain: Good morning.
Leahy: So I saw yesterday that Bob Mendes put forward an alternative budget. It was kind of had to figure out. The only thing I could tell is that it looks like to me he also wants to increase the budget with property taxes by 32%. He doesn’t want to cut spending. He just wants to spend it a little differently.
Swain: Well, that’s a typical democrat. They tax and spend and then turn a blind eye to crime.
Leahy: Yes. Exactly. So you are involved in a group. Tell us a little bit about what you are doing to push back against this proposed property tax increase.
Swain: I’m working with two groups. One group is No Tax 4 Nash.
Swain: Yes. And there, people can sign up to get on a pretty much a mailing list. And we’re trying to raise money. We need close to 30,000 to put on a campaign where we have TV ads, radio, as well as billboards in every district. And so we need that. That’s one group. Then the other group is 4 Good Government.
And that’s Jim Roberts. He started that. That is a taxpayer protection act that would prevent the city council from doing something like this again along with bringing more transparency and accountability to Nashville. And we are trying to get 4,500 signatures for that particular organization.
So NoTax4Nash.com, we are trying to stop the 32% tax increase and we will be presenting the mayor with a budget or a list of places where we believe that he could make cuts now that would make the tax increase this year unnecessary. We realize that in the future there may be a need for a tax increase but not this year when so many people are suffering because of the COVID-19 shutdowns, which he was a part of by keeping the city closed.
Leahy: 4GoodGovernment.com. I’m on that website right now. Jim Roberts is an attorney and is doing good work on the fairgrounds case. The proposed act is the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act. And you can sign that petition and if that petition gets in there there will be a referendum on this.
Swain: Yes. I’m helping these two groups.
Leahy: Do we see any proposal that would say either no increase an alternative to the mayor’s budget? The mayor has not yet presented the budget by the Metro Council.
Swain: Let me tell you this, our group the NoTax4Nash which is a handful of people I named them last week, we met with Mayor Cooper and we got him to agree that if we presented him with our plan that he would take it very seriously. He did admit that he can amend his budget.
And so it’s possible that Mayor Cooper himself will back away from the 32% tax increase. It’s very important for the listeners out there who want to know what they can do. You can help us get the 4,500 signatures for the Taxpayer Protection Act. But right now you need to contact your council member and the four at-large members and the mayor. This is the time to assert pressure now. Let your voices be heard now!
Leahy: This is democracy in action. Grassroots activism. There was a poll by the way by Nashville Smart. Lonnie Spivak’s group put out that showed by almost a two to one margin, more than a two to one margin taxpayers oppose the 32% tax increase.
Swain: Of course the Vanderbilt poll says that they want it. Tax me! Tax me! Tax me more! (Laughs)
Leahy: Now people can understand why you left Vanderbilt. It’s funny when you look at this and these major institutions are clearly guided by the facts. The Vanderbilt poll is such a joke by anybody who understands polling. They’ve been wrong. If you want to know…
Swain: Some like the COVID-19 death projections. The models.
Leahy: Yes. Yes. And of course, we talk about this so often about how bad the Vanderbilt poll is by violating every principle of polling. The poll that Nashville Smart did by a two to one margin, more than two to one, Nashville voters of al kinds opposed the 32% property tax increase. That poll was conducted over two days with 762 registered voters.
Swain: When was it released? I haven’t seen this.
Leahy: Monday night, Tuesday night we released it and it was our lead story at tennesseestar.com. The Vanderbilt poll, they took 30 days to complete it and of course they framed the questions in a way that the only way you can get to it is by their answer.
Swain: I know by being in the political science department that sometimes the people who were putting together the polls met with the government officials that they pretty much helped draft the questions and paid for the questions.
Leahy: How do you want this question asked so it will give us an answer that will support our policies?
Swain: This is the world. This is academia. It’s not neutral, it’s not fair, and this is America.
Leahy: We have the worst political class and academic class in American history here.
Swain: I wish we had more Conservatives and stronger ones in government.
Leahy: So do I Carol.
Listen to the full second hour: