NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — New legislation making its way through the Tennessee State Capitol looks to put a cap on how much local governments can raise property taxes without public input.
HB0565/SB0171 looks to cap local government property tax hikes without a public referendum to 2%.
World-renowned pitmaster Carey Bringle, owner of Peg Leg Porker, told News 2 he was in favor of the legislation. Bringle was vocal about his opposition to Nashville’s 34% property tax hike in 2020.
“I predicted this several years ago when we had a 34% property tax increase in the middle of the pandemic, that it would drive a lot of independent business out,” Bringle said. “And we’ve seen that happen. We’ve seen a lot of restaurants leave; a lot of these small, independent businesses have to leave downtown because of bigger development and because of these tax rates.”
Since purchasing his building in The Gulch in 2012, Bringle said his property taxes have increased exponentially, corresponding with his property value. However, Bringle explained that property value only benefits him if he goes to sell.
“From the span of when I bought my building until now, my property taxes increased around 800%,” Bringle said. “I haven’t developed my property to become a hotel or become a big resort or something. We’re a restaurant, we feed people, and so the purpose of our property has not changed at all, but yet our taxes have jumped exponentially.”
Rutherford County also saw a major property tax hike of 16% last year amid funding challenges and record-breaking growth.
“It’s a double-edged sword; the citizens also need to understand that city government has to run and money has to come from somewhere, but I think what you’ll find from the citizens of Tennessee and of Nashville is that nobody minds paying their fair share, but they want to make sure that the money’s being spent in a fiscally responsible way,” Bringle said.
Bringle fears if taxes continue to increase at such a rapid rate for downtown businesses, the city will see more Nashville staples forced to close and outside companies will move in.
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“I’m here for the long run; we’re here to feed Nashvillians. We don’t want to be driven out of the neighborhood that we invested multiple millions of dollars in and created 50 jobs, and now we get punished by our city for that economic growth and development,” he added.
A poll from the Beacon Center found that 67% of people would support a property tax cap without a referendum. Tennessee is one of a handful of states that doesn’t have a limit on local property tax increases.