How do incentives impact Nashville’s budget shortfall?

Nashville 2020

Nashville 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Every day Nashville evolves. Incentives entice large companies, changing the skyline before our eyes.

In recent years the city prospered more than any other time in its history.

Yet Mayor John Cooper recently announced Nashville has a budget shortfall of $42 million.

How did we get into this predicament?

“Well, because of a lot of deals that were cut in the past,” says Steve Glover, At-Large member of the Nashville Metro Council.

Glover claims there were deals that weren’t negotiated properly. They weren’t profitable and rushed.

“With the soccer deal, we were told if we don’t do it right now, we’re gonna lose it.”

According to Glover, it was pressure to build under a lapse of leadership. “We don’t have a money issue in Nashville. We have a spending issue in Nashville.”

This deficit wasn’t unexpected.

In fact, throughout the years Glover, owner of Glover Financial Group, has been an outspoken critic of past fiscal decisions.

He says he saw this coming.

“Some will tell you we have the lowest tax rate ever. What they don’t tell ya is that over a 4 or 5 year period, and it’s been reported kinda willy-nilly, we got almost a 32-33% increase in revenue, coming in. But, the expenses went up by 38%. You cannot operate a budget that way. There’s only one outcome, and it’s highly predictable – bankruptcy.”

Glover does credit big deals, like Nashville’s forthcoming Amazon operation hub, for helping the city flourish.

In exchange for the company’s 5,000 promised jobs, state and local taxpayers gave Amazon $102 million dollars in incentives.

“The state was very instrumental in the Amazon deal. If we would’ve walked away from it, it’s a domino effect. I don’t think we need to be doing the incentive packages anymore. I think Nashville is red hot.”

In 2020, and with a new administration in place, Glover says the priority lies with restructuring current deals, “I think the mayor has done a good job, so far, at looking at the Convention Center. He’s looking at the downtown core and getting some monies generated out of that.”

Glover, crunching numbers, thinks the projected plan for 2021 should help balance the budget short-term. He still won’t say, with confidence, if the city of Nashville can recoup its losses, but he’s not ready to call it a crisis either.

“If you wanna talk about a crisis, and what scares me the most, we need to get our reserve funds up to where they’re healthy. Because the economy is doing gangbang right now, but if it doesn’t continue, we are not prepared for that today.”

The Mayor’s office has released an expedited timeline that permits the administration to file a budget with the Metro Council by March 31st, a month ahead of the normal budgeting schedule, and seeks for the budget to be approved by Metro Council no later than May 31, 2020.

News 2 is reporting on Nashville’s historic growth and the growing pains that come with it. Click here for more Nashville 2020 reports.

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