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New Facebook Groups

At the end of the same week Memphis mayor Willie Herenton announced he’s thinking about making a run at Steve Cohen’s seat, a Facebook group in support of Cohen’s re-election has been formed and already picked up almost 200 members.

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=94060466720&ref=nf

The group’s description: “A group to show Steve Cohen and anyone who may challenge him exactly who we support in the next election cycle.”

And Shelby County mayor AC Wharton, whose mayoral term expires next year and who has already announced his candidacy for the 2011 Memphis mayoral race, has his own Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/pages/Friends-of-AC-Wharton/93062625179?v=wall&viewas=851744938

At last count, it’s picked up more than 400 fans.

“You don’t know me”

At a hearing on climate change Friday on Capitol Hill in D.C., Tenn. Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn asked former vice president and Tenn. native Al Gore if he stood to personally benefit from any business investments related to his environmental awareness efforts.

He told her: “If you believe the reason I’ve been working on this issue for 30 years is because of greed, you don’t know me.”

See the video here -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMJ3Xow9ZGM&feature=player_embedded

What about the children?

Looks like the recommendation by the city administration to lower the tax rate lasted less than a week:

http://www.memphisdailynews.com/editorial/Article.aspx?id=42136

The Taxman Cometh

Here’s some good news for city of Memphis taxpayers. It’s appearing increasingly likely the city’s tax rate of $3.25 per $100 of assessed value will be lower once the Memphis City Council sets a new tax rate for the coming fiscal year.

Right now, the current tax rate of $3.25 means someone with a $150,000 home pays $1,218.75 a year in city property taxes.

Because 2009 is a reappraisal year, the city – and all local governments in Tennessee – must first identify what’s called a certified tax rate before they set an official tax rate. The certified tax rate is whatever tax rate will give that government the same amount of revenue it brought in last year.

That extra step only occurs during reappraisal years. The point of that extra step in setting a new tax rate is to prevent governments from reaping a windfall on the backs of property owners whose property appreciates in value.

Once a certified tax rate is calculated, the governing body can then move from there and either leave that figure as the new official tax rate – or, if a tax increase is deemed necessary, the certified tax rate can be raised.

It’s an important step that might seem like a complicated bit of bureaucracy. But it directly affects a taxpayer’s pocketbook.

Think of it this way: if city officials leave the city’s tax rate at $3.25 for next year’s budget, it looks like no change has been made. We didn’t raise the tax rate, they might say. Let’s have a round of applause.

But if the tax rate remained $3.25 during this particular year, that would mean the city, in fact, did implement a property tax hike.

It would mean a lower certified rate was identified, and then that rate was raised back up to $3.25.

City finance director Roland McElrath, however, has twice in public this week said a lower certified rate will be calculated. And that the city administration will then recommend leaving it untouched.

“After the certified tax rate is set, there’s no plan to raise it above the certified tax rate,” McElrath told council members Thursday night.

Herenton Coverage

This is a good commentary on much of the coverage of Herenton’s announcement:

http://smartcitymemphis.blogspot.com/2009/04/mayor-herenton-great-for-news-cycle.html

Frothy, panicked and breathless. It’s as if it were almost as big a deal as Calipari leaving. Almost, but not quite.

I’d like to think we weren’t quite so panicked, of course. (http://www.memphisdailynews.com/editorial/Article.aspx?id=42060)

Dansette

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