Today’s Tennessean featured an article analyzing the House District 50 race between Councilman Bo Mitchell and businessman Charles Williamson.
The Tennessean got one thing very, very wrong in that article. They said, “Mitchell voted against the Metro property tax increase earlier this year, disappointing some of his Democratic allies but protecting his right flank as he looked toward the legislative race.” This is simply not true.
On third and final reading of the McGuire substitute budget bill, eight council members voted against it including Mitchell, but what was the effect of that vote? Here is what the charter says:
The council shall finally adopt an operating budget for the ensuing fiscal year not later than the thirtieth day of June, and it shall be effective for the fiscal year beginning on the following July 1st. Such adoption shall take the form of an ordinance setting out the estimated revenues in detail by source and making appropriations according to fund and by organizational unit, purpose or activity as set out in the budget document. If the council shall fail to adopt a budget prior to the beginning of any fiscal year, it shall be conclusively presumed to have adopted the budget as submitted by the mayor.
The final vote against the McGuire substitute budget was meaningless. Both the McGuire substitute and the Mayor's budget raised taxes by the same amount. When the final vote on the budget was cast, the effect of the "no" vote was a vote for the Mayors budget as opposed to the McGuire substitute budget. That is a fact. Instead of the Tennessean taking the opportunity to educate the public they are protecting Bo Mitchell and letting him hide behind his vote against the McGuire substitute bill.
Prior to the final vote on the McGuire substitute an amendment had been offered by Councilman Robert Duvall that proposed a budget with no tax increase. His amendment got seven votes and failed. Bo Mitchell did not support the Duvall amendment.
Only the people who voted for the Duvall amendment can honestly say they voted against a tax increase and everyone else who claims they voted against a tax increase is lying. The seven Council members who really voted against a tax increase are Tygert, Bennett, Stites, Standley, Tenpenny, Dominy and Duvall.