Hamilton County Commissioner David Sharpe Proposes a $60 Wheel Tax Referendum

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Chattanooga, Tenn. (WDEF) — A Hamilton County commisioner has a plan to give teacher’s raises, but it could cost you.

Commissioner David Sharpe introduced a resolution to put a $60 dollar wheel tax on next March’s ballot.

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Commissioner Sharpe has been trying various ways to fund teacher raises, since the original Hamilton County School budget request for a funding increase, was defeated earlier this year. This wheel tax is the latest.

District 6 Hamilton County Commissioner David Sharpe said, “This resolution is simply to answer the question of where do our constituents truly lie. Where do they feel about how we support educators, how we compensate educators?”

Commissioner Tim Boyd had plenty of arguments against the idea. One was that the use of the funds would be ultimately up to the School Board.

“They’ve proven to us this last spring, coming to us begging for a tax increase, ‘We’re going to give the teachers a salary increase.’. What happened? They reneged on that whole narrative. Put the teacher’s salary way down the priority list in order to grow government,” said District 8 Commissioner Tim Boyd.

And Commissioner Warren Mackey presented it as an either/or choice.

“What would you rather do: Put people in jail because they don’t have jobs? (BUMP) We have a choice. We can – we can spend $99,000 dollars a day, for the jails, or . . . we can help fix the schools,” said Commissioner Warren Mackey, of District 4.

“I appreciate what you’re saying about the jails, and $99,000 dollars, but people don’t go to jail because they don’t have jobs, they go to jail because they commit crimes and they make poor choices. That’s why people go to jail,” said Greg Martin, Commissioner District 3.

Both Commissioners Martin and Boyd plan to introduce amendments next week to Sharpe’s resolution.

“If the constituents vote to add the wheel tax, I am adamantly going to campaign from this point forward to put this money in the county’s fund, county’s general fund. ‘Cause we as commissioners have more to do than think about funding education. We need to fund infrastructure, we need to fund jails for the Sheriff,” said Commissioner Boyd.

The commission could also decide to move the wheel tax referendum to the November election.