(The Center Square) – A Davidson County judge ruled that a July 27 referendum election on six proposed amendments to the Nashville Metro Charter – including one that would lower property taxes – will not take place.
The judgment of June 22nd, which stated that four of the amendments were “incorrect in form”, can still be appealed.
The referendum, known as the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act, is the second version of a similar referendum proposed by a group called 4 Good Government, led by attorney Jim Roberts.
“Since I am a lawyer, I have limited say about the opinion of the court,” Roberts said in a June 23 post. “[I] I sincerely hope it will be promptly challenged and reversed. No doubt the mayor and his tax-friendly allies are pleased today that 430,000 citizens have been denied the right to vote. It saves him the trouble of ordering police dogs and fire hoses to the polls on election day to intimidate voters.
“We’re not going to give up on saving Nashville from this fiscally irresponsible government. … The fight is not over yet. Save Nashville while you can … “
The referendum, which has been proposed to cap property tax rates and increases, change public officials recall procedures, end lifelong public officials’ benefits and subject them to a referendum, oblige Nashville to go to the referendum to transfer public property , and causing professional sports teams to lose property. They decide to leave town.
After the group garnered more than 12,000 signatures for the referendum, Davidson County’s election commissioners voted 3-2 to run the July referendum. But that vote was immediately challenged in court by Davidson County and Nashville.
The referendum was in response to a 34% increase in property tax in 2020. Both referendums proposed that this increase be reversed. The latest version would prevent the city from increasing taxes by more than 3% without a referendum.
The first attempt at the 4th Good Government Referendum last fall was rejected by Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle and declared unconstitutional because it promoted “an illegal form of government in Tennessee”.
Federal Chancellor Russel. T. Perkins ended the referendum, a revised version of the 2020 attempt.
“We’re building a great city and we’re grateful for a ruling that will prevent a small group from hijacking the future of Nashville with an unconstitutional California-style referendum,” said Nashville Mayor John Cooper on the court’s ruling. “Our next budget is making historic investments in our students, transportation infrastructure and affordable housing as we maintain a tax rate of 24 percent below our quarter-century average – the third highest property tax rate in Metro history. We will continue to solve problems and find solutions to build a stronger, fairer city for all. “
The Save Nashville Now coalition, formed against the referendum, announced on June 23 that it would suspend its campaign on June 30 following the Perkins decision.
“If Chancellor Perkins’ verdict is appealed and the status of the campaign changes, Save Nashville Now will be ready to resume our efforts to explain to Nashville voters how this referendum is hurting Nashville’s future and severely affecting Metro budgets will cut impacts on families, teachers, students, first responders and emergency responders across the city, ”the group said in a post.