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VOL. 36 | NO. 20 | Friday, May 18, 2012

Mayor’s tax proposal might hurt a little, but it’s good for city

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This week the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors announced its support of the tax increase proposed by Mayor Dean during his State of Metro Address two weeks ago.

Kendra Cooke, president of GNAR, says the “association met at length with Mayor Dean and other key leaders and believe ... the tax increase is needed to keep our city and region growing and improving.”

No one wants a tax increase, but for Nashville to continue on its path to greatness requires an investment from it citizenry. While the Mayor’s request is 53 cents, an increase that equates to a 12 percent hike, it should be noted that his administration had reduced Metro’s operating budget by $59 million since taking office, figures provided by the Mayor’s office show.

And, the proposed tax increase would provide for a rate of $4.66, compared to $4.69 per thousand when the Mayor took office, according to Deputy Mayor Greg Hinote.

Tax increases are similar to tonsillectomies in that they are intensely painful for a period of time that seems to last months, but over time they provide for a better quality of life. Coupled with post-operation care, it can save the life of the patient or, in this case, the city.

As the city vies against other cities for corporate relocations, the education of the population and the safety of the residents play important roles. With the large number of institutions of higher education in the area, Nashville should boast an inordinate number of college graduates seeking employment of relocating businesses. While the Mayor says Dr. Jesse Register, director of Metro Schools, has helped that number rise, it is not where it needs to be.

There is a 23 percent increase for the funding of education in the proposed budget. The Mayor noted they have included an increase for first-time teachers in order to be able to lure the best and brightest to the city.

The positive aspects of the increase are many, and if the budget does not pass the city could meet the fate of the person who refuses the tonsillectomy and goes through life contracting infection after infection and being forced to battle each attack with the proper antibiotics, thereby compromising the immune system until such time that the body fails.

As Cooke notes: “This tax increase is an investment in our future.”

Sales of the week (Month)

This week the sales are of the entire month, up 25 percent over last May with 2,186 closings (compared with 1,747 for May of 2011). The median price for a home was $165,120, up from $159,070.

For the year, sales are up 24.5 percent, with a total of 7,041 and inventory of only 19,622, or about a nine-month supply. Last year at this time there was a 13-month supply. Therefore, demand is growing and supplies diminishing as the market shifts from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market.

GNAR also tracks “pending” sales, houses under contract with no contingencies. At the end of May, there were 2,436 properties pending, compared to 1,909 for the same period last year, meaning the trend will continue.

With sales having dropped dramatically from 2008 until now, there was an enormous pent-up demand. As sellers are able to sell and experience equity events, there are more people selling which creates more buyers.

The best is yet to come. As Ralph Schulz, the president of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce noted, Nashville has historically been last in to recessions and first out. Once again, that theory was proven accurate. It was not by accident.

The Chamber and the Greater Nashville Association of Realtor feel the tax increase is necessary.

Let’s buy a gallon of ice cream. It’ll be better soon.

Richard Courtney is a real estate broker with French, Christianson, Patterson, and Associates and a past president of the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 0 0
MORTGAGES 0 0 0
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 0 0
BUILDING PERMITS 0 0 0
BANKRUPTCIES 0 0 0
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 0 0
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0