Archive for January, 2013

Chicago and Memphis

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

January 31, 2013

The Wall Street Journal had an article recently that was very interesting. I have been wondering for some time how the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) would affect public employees’ health care benefits. Well the article details some proposed changes by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. I can’t print the article without the WSJ’s permission but here is the essence (more…)

The Cost Of Housing Subsidies

Monday, January 28th, 2013

January 28, 2013

As we discuss paying for local government with property taxes, sales taxes, fees, penalties, income taxes, capital gain taxes, etc. etc. and on and on, I decided to look into the cost of housing assistance. I went to the Memphis Housing Authority site and found a document on eligibility as shown below.

  • You are 18 or over; AND
  • Your family earns less than 50% of the Area Median Income, ($28,650 a year), AND
  • You have lived in Shelby County for at least one year, AND
  • You want to rent an apartment within Shelby County, AND
  • You are a United States Citizen OR an eligible immigrant, AND
  • Your household’s members are all citizens or eligible immigrants, which includes permanent residents and lawful temporary residents.

I then decided to ask for financial statements on a local public housing site, University Place on Lamar near Crump Blvd. This was the site of the old Lamar Terrace. I have attached three financial documents about the three phases of the development, University Place Southeast, University Place II and University Place III(more…)

The Truth About The Bass Pro/Pinch Bonds

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

January 22, 2013 

The City of Memphis has decided to go ahead with the Pyramid/BassPro/Pinch project to the tune of $192 million dollars. The following is from a 2011 article in the Commercial Appeal.

While acknowledging that the project carries risks, Memphis officials and financial planners say the deal to fund The Pyramid’s transformation into a Bass Pro Shopsdestination store has been structured to provide several layers of protection fortaxpayers.


Conservative estimates regarding the major financing component — state sales tax revenues from a Tourist Development Zone covering all of Downtown and the MedicalCenter district — indicate that there should be ample funds to repay bonds issued forthe project, they say.



More on TDZs and TIFs

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

January 15, 2013

Since the future of the poor City of Memphis seems to depend on future income from  TDZs (Tourist Development Zones) and TIFs (Tax Incremental Financing) I decided to investigate these schemes further at the State level. I show below an email and response from Mr. Garrett Guillory, Tennessee Department of Revenue. There is his letter response, sales tax returns on TDZs and sales tax returns on Sports Authorities. Except for the Tennessee Titans stadium in Nashville, Memphis has far more of this type of financing than any other city in the state.

Dear Mr. Saino, Thank you for returning my call and providing clarification on your public records request, which the Tennessee Department of Revenue (the “Department”) received via email dated December 12, 2012. The Department seeks to provide public records in a timely manner. Per our telephone conversation from this morning, I am sending you this follow-up email with the (more…)

The Most Recent Memphis CAFR

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

January 9, 2013

The City of Memphis recently published the latest (June 30, 2012) CAFR (Comprehensive Annual Financial Report). I decided to go through it and give you at look at some of the more interesting points. It is quite long, but this is where most of the facts about the City of Memphis are found.

In the cover letter, Mayor Wharton referred to the Bloomberg grant of which I was not aware. Here is a description of the grant from a local news story.

The neighborhoods, South Memphis, Binghampton and the Madison Avenue and Cleveland Avenue corridors, will receive part of the three-year, $4.8 million grant that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s private foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, (more…)

Ricky Wilkins and More Insiders

Monday, January 7th, 2013

January 7, 2013

Yesterday there was an interesting article in the CA concerning $3.2 million collected by Lawyer Ricky Wilkins from the Texas law firm of Linebarger Goggon Blair and Sampson. This sent me back to my archived files for information that I requested concerning Lawyer Wilkins and others. I actually had to file a lawsuit in 2007 to get the information. Attached is some of the information I finally received. In it you will see that just for several years, Lawyer Wilkins got $1.63 million on several pieces of city business.

This is just the latest revelation on Lawyer Wilkins. This brings to mind that in 2006 I received a report that there were 17 boxes of Beale Street documents stored in a locked closet at Robert Lipscomb’s Office of Housing and Community Development at 701 N. Main. (more…)

Pensacola Pension Reform

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

January 2, 2013

We have Washington DC politicians and local pols ignoring the national and local fiscal cliffs but at least some people are waking up and doing the right thing.

Many people from the Memphis area, including my family, have for years enjoyed vacationing in the Pensacola area of Florida. Some have moved there and have enjoyed the beautiful beaches and sites. I did not know about the financial problems of the City of Pensacola but recently I got two articles from the Pensacola News Journal. I have attached an editorial and a news article.