Conservative group's poll finds 68 percent oppose tax increase

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 at 1:11pm

A poll commissioned by a conservative think tank found 68 percent of Davidson County voters oppose Mayor Karl Dean’s property tax increase proposal, a solid majority its leadership says is indicative of widespread resistance to the mayor’s plan.

“We have heard over and over that the public is on the mayor’s side,” Beacon Center of Tennessee CEO Justin Owen said in a statement Tuesday. “We wanted to find out for ourselves, and the results of this survey unequivocally show that despite what the mayor has been saying, taxpayers do not support his plan to increase taxes.”

Beacon, which bills itself as a Nashville-based free market think tank, said its poll of 403 likely Davidson County voters found only 21 percent support for Dean’s 53-cent property tax increase, which amounts to 13 percent higher tax payments for property owners. Hill Research Consultants conducted the poll from June 5 through June 7.

According to Beacon, the public opinion research firm posed a single question: “Metro Nashville-Davidson County Mayor Karl Dean is proposing a 13 percent property tax increase in his recommended budget for the city. The proposed budget includes a net spending increase of 7.85 percent. Please tell me if you support or oppose this proposed tax and budget plan, which is currently being debated by the Metro Council?”

Beacon claims, “Special care was taken to ensure that geographic, party affiliation, and demographic divisions of the actual electorate are properly represented in the results of the poll.”

The same conservative organization produced an alternative Metro budget proposal last month that, among other things, would slash subsidies for public transit and public art, privatize Metro General Hospital, and keep the level of public school-spending the same. The budget’s chief goal: eliminate the need for a property tax hike.

Moving Nashville Forward, an organization led by former Councilman Erik Cole that supports Dean’s tax increase, took to Twitter Tuesday to express discontent with the poll stating, “Nobody likes higher taxes. Real debate is how we invest in the future. Just saying ‘no’ isn’t a solution.”

Tax-hike proponents have highlighted how additional tax revenue would increase the starting salaries of teachers from $35,000 to $40,000, renovate dilapidated school buildings, increase the pay of Metro workers and ensure Metro’s staffing of police personnel, among other items.

Beacon’s poll marks what is believed to be the second phone survey on a Davidson County property tax increase this year.

In January, Dean’s campaign committee hired a pollster to weigh Nashvillians’ mood on a potential property tax hike, months before the mayor unveiled his tax proposal. The City Paper has been unable to retrieve the results of this poll.

Dean’s proposed $1.71 billion budget and property tax increase heads before the Metro Council for a final vote later this month, perhaps as early as June 19.

Last-minute public opinion polls on controversial subjects have proven ineffective in swaying council members in the past. Leading up the council’s 2010 vote on financing the Music City Center, a WSMV-TV poll found only one in four Nashvillians supported it. The plan, however, sailed through the council by a 29-9 vote.

16 Comments on this post:

By: greystone on 6/12/12 at 12:55

I can imagine how a conservative think tank group would word such a question.

By: Shadow63 on 6/12/12 at 1:24

The tax increase is a done deal! Nothing you can do about it. Dean has nothing to fear, he's not up for reelection and your councilman will not support their constituents. Their future lies in the fat cats that get them elected, and it ain't you boys and girls.
The most you can hope for is a reduction in the amount of the increase.
It's a version of the old "Three Card Monty" . You think you have your eye on the card, but they are too quick for you. Ask for more than you want then settle for a little less.. When Dean "compromises" everyone will say "What a reasonable guy he is"
B/S, this deal was done befoe he was sworn into office.

By: WickedTribe on 6/12/12 at 2:41

I strongly support the tax increase; our city can't afford the tax cut we received in 2006. Since Davidson county is overwhelmingly liberal, I don't believe the results of this poll, at all.

By: NewYorker1 on 6/12/12 at 3:55

I really do hope Dean drive under an eighteen wheeler and is decapitated. Get your Goddamn hands out of my pocket.

By: DavidSchwetty on 6/12/12 at 3:58

WickedTribe, why should Davidson County residents be asked to foot a 4% non merit based raise for metro government employees? Have you ever stood outside of legislative plaza at 4:00 and watched the herd of overweight, underworked, overpaid, govt employees filing out? They show up at 9:00, leave at 4:00 and get better benefites than most in the private sector. Now, on top of that, they get a raise?

Also, there are currently over 230 metro employees that make over $100,000 per year. I can think of only a handful of government positions that demand a six figure salary. I would be shocked if you couldn't fill the majority of those positions with an equally talented person at $50k/year.

The fact of the matter is the metro goverment is bloated. If we need teachers and firemen, then fire some of the administrative people and make the rest work from 8:00 to 6:00 like so many of the private sector employees in Davidson County. If after that, we're still short cash, I would be much more open to a tax increase.

By: pswindle on 6/12/12 at 3:59

Of course, the GOP does not want a tax increase, but they sure want the benefits that the tax increase will allow.

By: coondini on 6/12/12 at 5:26

"Have you ever stood outside of legislative plaza at 4:00 and watched the herd of overweight, underworked, overpaid, govt employees filing out? They show up at 9:00, leave at 4:00 and get better benefites than most in the private sector. Now, on top of that, they get a raise?"

Um, isn't Legislative Plaza for STATE employees? Such as the TN House and Senate and state office staff?

Nice try though.

By: coondini on 6/12/12 at 5:33

And NewYorker1, it doesn't matter HOW much you hate someone, but wishing death on them is just sick. Go back to New York, because we sure as hell don't want your kind of attitude anywhere near here. You really need some help.

By: producer2 on 6/12/12 at 6:03

Shocking that their poll had this result.

By: gdiafante on 6/13/12 at 5:11

A better poll would have been Would you prefer to pay no taxes while still receiving all the benefits, such as education, roads, police protection, etc.?

By: gdiafante on 6/13/12 at 5:12

By: Kosh III on 6/13/12 at 6:35

The fix is in!

If I read this correctly, the budget includes 55 million for a new Sounds stadium to be built immediately.
second page. 08FI0029

When was that discussed?

If the Sounds want a new playground, they can pay for it themselves

By: Left-of-Local on 6/13/12 at 8:32

OH COURSE another collection of Neocon pricks would get such results from a Fox-fuelled mass of their most loyal greed-zealots.

By: NewYorker1 on 6/13/12 at 8:50

Why don't I just hand deliver my pay checks to the Mayor's office twice per month. All the years in school earning my two engineering degrees and starting my own company was only to give the local and federal government my money. I'll just live on the streets.

By: NewYorker1 on 6/13/12 at 8:52

coondini, if I wanted your response, I would have asked for it. SHUT IT UP!

By: govskeptic on 6/14/12 at 7:13

Our Mayor, brought here by Law School, is suffering Mayor Bloomberg
envy and jealousy! If only he were personally wealthy versus his wife
and their many friends it would be an even higher tax increase! This
survey is no surprise, even the liberals hate to pay more out of their
own pockets! But they love spending out of the pockets of others!