Archive for April, 2006

by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 30th, 2006 12:17pm CDT | Comments Off on Spirit of ’76

Memphis Magazine, in its 30th anniversary issue in April, began a new monthly column, City Journal. Here’s the inaugural installment by our colleague Tom Jones: City Journal It was 1976, and the decline of Memphis had ended. Unfortunately, it was because we had hit bottom. The economy languished; the Chamber of Commerce flirted with bankruptcy […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 27th, 2006 7:09pm CDT | Comments Off on Roadbuilders Continue To Flex Political Muscle In Nashville

When we try to “Imagine” a better future, our ambitions are much more down-to-earth than John Lennon’s. We could be content with a world where Tennessee taxpayers are as powerful as roadbuilders. Over the years, no special interest group has had more free rein over a state budget than the Tennessee Roadbuilders Association has had […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 26th, 2006 6:02pm CDT | Comments Off on Some Hopeful New Energy Behind PILOT Reform

Memphis Councilman Tom Marshall’s comments about changes in the PILOT program elicited an immediate response here: “Amen.” Like only a few members of our local legislative bodies, he has seemed to understood from the beginning the importance of acting on recommendations by consultants to reform the programs giving away tax freezes in a number unprecedented […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 26th, 2006 4:05pm CDT | Comments Off on Dylan Lyrics Are Just As Relevant Today…Unfortunately

I went to another Bob Dylan concert last night, this time, in Memphis at the Orpheum Theatre. It’s been 40 years since the first one – February 10, 1966 at the old Ellis Auditorium on the other end of downtown – when I took my new girl friend, now wife, to see him on our […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 25th, 2006 7:20pm CDT | Comments Off on Tax Freezes Should Have Requirements To Eliminate Hidden Costs To The Public

The interests that oppose any serious reform to local policies on tax freezes are positioned to win. At this point, all they may need to do is run out the clock. That’s because, as one of them said in his normal, matter-of-fact candor, on September 1, two anti-tax freeze voices will leave the Shelby County […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 22nd, 2006 11:27pm CDT | Comments Off on "Commodities’ Economic Development" Limits Memphis’ Future

There are times when it just seems that Memphis can’t get its economic development strategies into the 21st century. It’s as if we just don’t want to compete in a knowledge economy in a global marketplace. Our economic development strategies are caught in the commodity trap, stemming from our background as an agricultural center and […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 22nd, 2006 10:31pm CDT | Comments Off on Memphis’ Creativity Gets Its Headlines

Several unique Memphis assets received coverage in national magazines that hit the stands this week. The National Ornamental Metal Museum gets the attention that it deserves in Smithsonian, while Three 6 Mafia – called instant stars – are shown in Vanity Fair at its Oscar party. Sunday’s New York Times gave prominent coverage to movie […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 20th, 2006 6:42pm CDT | Comments Off on Like It Or Not, City Council And County Board Of Commissioners Have Seats At The Table In Decisions About Tax Freezes

While we’re on the subject of tax freezes (as we were yesterday), it sure looks like most of the candidates in the races for county commissioners are using the real estate developers’ talking points. One of the questions put to candidates by the Coalition for a Better Memphis asked about their strategies to improve the […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 19th, 2006 6:21pm CDT | Comments Off on "But For" Test For PILOTs Could End Tax Freeze Controversy

City Councilman Scott McCormick, during the recent questioning about the proposed eight-year, $2.6 million tax break for Harrah’s Entertainment, was quoted by the Memphis Flyer as saying: “They might have $7 billion in revenues each year, but we don’t know what their profits are. I know they comp a lot of steak dinners.” Well, for […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 17th, 2006 11:32pm CDT | Comments Off on Broad Avenue Plan Cries Out For TIF

If there’s ever been a justification to create another TIF (tax increment financing) district in Memphis, we need wait no more. The Broad Avenue Corridor Planning Initiative gives us a powerful reason to act. This seems especially timely to us, because a couple of weeks ago, we advocated that Memphis and Shelby County use the […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 14th, 2006 4:42pm CDT | Comments Off on Vietnamese Calls To Prosecutor Await Answer

Following yesterday’s post about the use of Memphis versus Nashville crime statistics as political fodder, we received a call from two members of the Midtown Vietnamese community. Their question: how do they get Attorney General Bill Gibbons to return telephone calls to his office? So, we pass it on to you in the event that […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 13th, 2006 12:43pm CDT | Comments Off on Nashville Crime Hits Five-Year Low

This article in the Nashville Tennessean this morning was made even more potent by the counterpoint on Memphis television of police officers expressed dismay over climbing crime here, especially the disturbing increase in murders. It was also made interesting because in recent years, some politicians, notably Attorney General Bill Gibbons, has contended that crime statistics […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 13th, 2006 10:16am CDT | Comments Off on Spring Hill Proposes Doubling Its Impact Fees For Developers

As Shelby County officials grapple with their limited options to reduce the burden on local property taxpayers, it’s worth remembering that the Tennessee Legislature has allowed other places to enact impact fees. For about six years, impact fees have been a priority on the county’s legislative agenda in Nashville, but they never get a fair […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 10th, 2006 10:38pm CDT | Comments Off on Merger Of Our Two School Districts Deserves A Place On The Agenda

It’s been almost an exact year since Memphis Mayor Willie W. Herenton convened a group of civic leaders to hear his presentation – the most thorough, documented and intelligent one given in this community – on a possible future for our dual school system as a single, merged one. It was his attempt to set […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 9th, 2006 10:21pm CDT | Comments Off on Emerging Trends On Tax Reform Deserve Our Attention

Portland, Oregon, is one of our favorite cities. More importantly, it’s one of America’s most progressive, most innovative ones. That’s been proven in its leadership for smart growth, for regional planning and financing, for cultural development and for investments in the workforce needed by the knowledge economy. But if those weren’t enough reasons to admire […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 8th, 2006 8:18pm CDT | Comments Off on How Hardheaded Business Metrics Can Help The Hard-Core Homeless

From Fortune: ROUGHLY 200,000 Americans will sleep rough tonight; many have done so for years. The fact that this is happening in the richest country in history is a travesty. But you know that. You’ve heard it again and again. You’re not heartless, but you’re tired of being guilt-tripped. Yet there is a new way […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 6th, 2006 7:20pm CDT | Comments Off on Business Improvement Districts Can Be The Spark For Cleaner, Safer And More Attractive City

Following up our last post about TIF, how about another alphabet approach that could be a positive addition to Memphis’ tools for the future? It’s a BID. To recap, we’re suggesting that our economic and community development experts move beyond the dependency on the tax freezes of the PILOT program, and rather than being mired […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 4th, 2006 7:28pm CDT | Comments Off on Tax Increment Financing Could Be A Valuable Tool In A Balanced System Of Business Incentives

It’s time to resurrect tax increment financing (TIF) as a possible incentive for economic growth in Memphis and Shelby County and as an alternative to our overreliance on tax freezes. The TIF is the favored business incentive in Nashville, and it is a major reason that our capital city issued only five tax freezes in […]

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