I was driving in to work the other day, and I heard a Bob Clement commercial during my daily dose of the Bob and Tom Show. I know these have been around for awhile, but this was the first time I heard and paid attention to one since before the first election.

Bob pointed out some very important things to me during his 60 second sound bite.

#1. Since last year all property tax increases have to be approved in a general election. And that ordinance was approved by the voters.

#2. He, Bob Clement, personally guaranteed he wouldn't raise taxes.

#3. His opponent, Karl Dean, would not promise not to raise taxes. He said he would try not to, but wouldn't promise.

Now by show of hands, who can explain to me how #1 makes #2 and #3 irrelevant pandering? If the voters have to approve a tax increase, then what sort of point is Bob making here? If you parse that logically and consider the limitations he would be under, it seems to me that Bob is saying he would defy the will of a majority of voters in Davidson County by refusing to implement a property tax increase they voted on? Because that's the only way he's going to have any choice in the decision. If you're feeling generous I suppose you could interpret that to mean that as a citizen of Davidson County he won't vote for a tax increase during an election. Seems to me Bob is going for the inattentive people who won't think of that, and the knee-jerk no tax crowd. That kind of obvious pandering really bugs me.

Even leaving aside the property tax ordinance, I lose a lot of respect for any politician that promises not to raise taxes. Four years is a long time and there's no telling what sort of disasters or federal mandates might come along that the city will need funding for. So he's either going to break his promise or he's going to not be able to deal with the situation.

So in my eyes, Bob has a history of saying stupid things and attacking his opponent for doing a good job as director of the Metro legal department. That means either no one in the campaign realizes how stupid this all sounds, or they think voters are too stupid to think it through. If the Scene is to be believed, the second would be the true motivation.

I'm not sure Dean would do a good job (though he does have a bridge on his campaign signs) but he has managed to avoid insinuating Davidson County voters are stupid. That's my take on it anyway. Maybe I just read the Scene and City Paper too much.


Blogger Southern Beale said...

I've seen Clement and Dean speak several times, once in person in a small group. Clement comes off as the oiliest of politicians, slipping in and around questions without ever actually coming out and saying anything. Trying to nail him down to an idea is like trying to catch a greased pig.

He might have been fine as a Congressman where his impact was fairly limited. But I wouldn't trust him at the helm of the ship.

4:33 AM, September 09, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a great misconception amongst the public that there will be no increases in property taxes without their approval. Many politicians and many in the press have allowed this misconception to continue. This is simply not correct.

In 2006 by an overwhelming majority the citizens of Nashville approved an amendment to the City Charter requiring that any increase in the tax rate above the current levels of $4.04 per $100 of assessed value in the General Services District and $4.69 per $100 of assessed value in the Urban Services District. What is important here is that the amendment limited an increase in the tax rate not any increase in property taxes.

As of January 1, 2009 all of the properties in Nashville and Davidson County will be reappraised. Due to a strong real estate market since January 1, 2005 the vast majority of properties will have increased in value. By State Law a county can not increase revenue by a reappraisal. Therefore, the State of Tennessee will mandate that property tax rate be lowered to a rate where the Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County will not collect any additional revenue.

With the reappraisal the current tax rates will be lower so that the city can not collect any more money then it now collects. If it wishes the Metro Council can raise the tax rate back to current levels and apply those taxes rates to the new appreciated values and raise property taxes without the public’s approval.

7:10 AM, September 09, 2007  
Blogger W said...

True anonymous, but it's not really a misconception that I labor under. That sort of thing is still up to the assessors, not the mayor. I'm not naive enough to think the mayor can influence that, but that's just another pie I don't want Clement's fingers in.

SoBeale, that's always the impression I've had of him. Too much of a career politican.

1:04 PM, September 09, 2007  

Post a Comment

<< Home