NASHVILLE, Tenn. —Area Tea Party chapters have begun turning their attention to local politics, and fighting back against proposed tax increases.
Members of the Nashville Tea Party were not happy to hear Mayor Karl Dean's proposed city budget includes a property tax increase of up to 53 cents for some homeowners.
"We didn't expect it to be that big," said President Ben Cunningham, "We're trying to get taxpayers up to speed on the issue so they can become part of this conversation, part of this debate."
That includes encouraging members to reach out to council members and express their concerns. It is an approach that worked in Smyrna. Rutherford County Tea Party took the same approach with city leaders, and the end result was a budget that includes 22 layoffs but no tax increases.
"They aren't mind readers," said Vice President of the Rutherford County Tea Party George Croft, "we let them know what was in our hearts, and they listened."
Members said there is proof their grass roots effort can make a difference, and they are just getting started.
"No tax increases are a wonderful thing," said Croft, "Now people have more money for groceries."
"Hopefully, we can change some minds on the council by calling and letting them know what taxpayers feel about this," said Cunningham.
Mayor Dean has argued the proposed tax increase would generate $100 million dollars in new additional revenue, and save city jobs.
City leaders in both Nashville and Smyrna will review and discuss the proposed budgets again next month. If passed, the budgets go into effect July 1.