Lebanon Mayor Proposes Sales Tax Hike, Property Tax Drop
by Mark Bellinger
LEBANON, Tenn. – One mayor in Wilson County has proposed a higher sales tax in exchange for a lower property tax.
Voters in the City of Lebanon will decide the outcome of the referendum proposed by Mayor Philip Craighead.
Many homeowners like Wallace Alsup, who has lived in a home near the Lebanon Airport for 28 years, said he doesn't oppose the proposal.
If they want to reduce it I'm all for that and put it on sales tax," he said. "Why is it good to put it on the sales tax? More people pay it."
Jimmy Hawkins owns The Tobacco Shop in Lebanon where the sales tax is 9.25 percent. Mayor Craighead's proposal would raise the sales tax to 9.75 percent. Hawkins said he knows some of his customers may not like it, but a half cent increase in the sales tax to him is barely noticeable.
"I mean we're already paying $3.20 or $3.30 for gasoline," he said. "What's another half percent on the sales tax?"
Mayor Craighead said if Lebanon voters approve the half cent increase in the city's share of the sales tax, the city will cut the property tax nearly 30 percent -- a savings of about $100 on a $300,000 home.
The Mayor said it's a good policy to let non-residents share in the burden of running the city.
"Well, we have to still provide the roads, police and other services, so why not take advantage and let them kind of help us support them or take care of them," said Mayor Craighead.
Mayor Craighead said an advantage to his plan is that it actually raises more than $2.5 million of revenue to pay for items of need like staffing a new fire station on the west side of the city.
The proposal for a referendum in May goes before the Lebanon City Council on first reading Tuesday night, where it must pass two readings.
Mayor Craighead said if Lebanon residents pass the referendum homeowners should see their property taxes go down when they get their notices this fall.