Obviously to anyone who has witnessed the unbridled growth of downtown Nashville, the main way to fix Nashville’s downtown traffic problem is to place a moratorium on building towers downtown and instead, require that they be built a couple of miles out on the perimeter. Like many other cities have found necessary, this should have been initiated five years ago and, there is no time like the present to do so.
Beyond that, funding mass transit by raising sales taxes, which would increase an already very high 9.25% sales tax, is the very worst way imaginable to fund anything. This is the opposite of what a “progressive” mayor and city would propose. It would raise the cost of living for everyone, significantly burdening the lower-middle class, working class and poor, who already find it necessary to spend nearly all of their disposable income just to survive.
Why not instead, place a $1 per alcoholic beverage tax sold in Metro Nashville to go towards mass transit, as well as a $1-$5 per ticket entertainment tax, depending on seating capacity. For example, tickets for the Bridgestone Arena and Nissan Stadium could be taxed $5, while tickets for smaller venues $1-$4, based on seating capacity—and placing a $1 per person dining out restaurant tax (excluding fast-food restaurants, convenience stores and similar). And beyond that, placing a $10 tax on all hotel rooms costing over $100 per night, thus sparring low rent motels that the poor often find themselves renting by the week.
Taxing for dining out, drinking and entertainment serves to tax excess dollars not needed for basic survival, unlike raising sales tax, which taxes dollars needed for housing, clothing, food and other essentials. Every person I’ve ever known that defines themselves as ‘progressive’ diametrically opposes raising sales taxes. Because raising sales taxes unfairly burdens the lower middle class, working class and poor, to propose doing so is against human rights and against everything that defines the term ‘progressive,’ which Mayor Barry and many who run the city of Nashville have long claimed to be.
Raising taxes on business directly, rather than as described above, invariably serves to raise consumer costs of goods and services and thus, is also not a good way to fund anything. If nothing else, let the owners of large towers kick in a few million each, rather than granting them large million-dollar tax breaks as I have heard is the common Nashville way of doing business. Most cities apply for federal, state and sometimes private grants when proposing large infrastructure projects and otherwise, issue bonds, which the well heeled can afford to purchase (see history of WWII bonds, for example).
At the bottom-line, what the city of Nashville is proposing, is that we the common citizens should pay for the sins of wealthy landlords, investors, restaurant owners and tower-builders, who instead of being required to pay for the damage they have wrought, they instead are handed our hard-earned tax dollars on long-term silver platters of corporate tax-break bribery. Why should the owners of the new Bridgestone Tower, the large tower on 5th and Church and other such glass menageries receive tax breaks for clogging up and otherwise, causing massive gridlock downtown as meanwhile, we the citizens of Nashville are being asked to vote to raise our own sales taxes?