On June 22nd, Davidson County Chancellor Russell Perkins ruled that a petition for six constitutional amendments supported by 4 Good Government was invalid and prevented the amendments from appearing in the July 27th vote. Perkins ruled that the petition contains two proposed election dates, but local law requires that petitioners specify a single election date. Perkins also ruled that the amendment to reverse a property tax increase would unconstitutionally transfer the power to remit property taxes from the local government to the electorate. Jim Roberts, head of 4 Good Government, said the Davidson County Electoral Commission is open to appeal the court’s decision.
Had the petition been declared valid, voters would have voted on six changes to the city statute on July 27th. One would have reset the city’s property tax rates back to where they were before a 34% increase in 2020 and required voter approval for all future increases of more than 3%. The other five amendments would have:
- reduced the number of signatures required to remove an elected official and prevented removed officials from running for their previous office;
- ended lifelong benefits for elected public officials;
- prohibited change in the law of constitutional changes initiated by the voter;
- urged the city council to seek citizen consent prior to transferring high quality park or greenway properties to private owners; and
- brought sports stadiums and facilities under city control when their respective teams left Nashville or did not play at home for two years.
This is not the first time 4 Good Government has tried to overturn last year’s tax hike. The group gathered the required number of signatures for a similar petition in August 2020, but it was rejected in court on November 3, 2020.
4 Good Government started their petition for the 2021 election date in February and collected the required 12,142 signatures in April. Davidson County’s Electoral Commission reviewed the petition in May.