• MFD and MPD asking for sales tax increase to restore benefits

    By: Kody Leibowitz

    Updated:

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Election Day is 15 days away – and this year’s only ballot measure could affect you and your wallet. 

    Memphis police officers and firefighters are asking for a sales tax increase. Police and fire unions told​​​​ FOX13 this tax increase would be used to restore benefits lost for some of its members.

    Those benefits were cut in 2014. Memphis fire and police unions want those restored, and want any worker hired before July 1, 2016 to have that pension plan.

    Engulfed by the sea of prodigious political signs surrounding polling places, stands a ballot issue.

    The public safety referendum. 


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    The sign is towered over by other races, but the issue might have the biggest effect on Memphis voters.

    Memphis fire and police unions have made the push, showing off a new supporter: former Memphis Police Director and Shelby County Sheriff Bill Oldham.

    The unions want to restore health care benefits and pensions for hundreds of their fellow Memphians in blue and red.

    How will they do it?

    By asking voters to up the sales tax in the city by half-a-percent from 2.25% to 2.75%.

    This week, FOX13 caught up with the Police Union President, Michael R. Williams, outside an early voting poll to discuss the public safety referendum.

    “It’s the restoration of those types of benefits that are going to retain the quality officers that we have, be able to recruit quality officers that are on the outside looking in,” Williams said.

    Not everyone is for the plan. 

    City Council chairman Kemp Conrad and Shelby County commissioner Ed Ford Junior recently came out against the plan.

    A referendum to be decided by the voters in two weeks.

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