Archive for November, 2018

Plastic Bag Tax-Are You For It? Is It Necessary? Will It Solve The Plastic Pollution Problem?

Monday, November 26th, 2018

November 26, 2018

 

Plastic Bag Tax-Are You For It? Is It Necessary? Will It Solve The Plastic Pollution Problem?

This proposal caught my attendance and is something that has been on my mind for some time. When I go to my local Kroger store, I always use the plastic bags to my shame. I could easily use my large canvas bag instead, but I don’t.

Under the plan, consumers would pay 7 cents for each plastic bag they use to carry their purchases from Memphis retailers sized 2,000 square feet or greater.

“This isn’t about revenue to the city of Memphis, this is about sustainability and protecting our waterways,” City Council chairman Berlin Boyd said Tuesday, pitching the plastic bag tax during the council’s public works, transportation and general services committee.

The Memphis bag tax proposal would funnel 2 cents to the grocers as a handling fee, while the city would pull in the other 5 cents per bag. People age 65 and older, and those who use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits or other public assistance, would be exempt, Boyd said.

Then I did some research and here is an article that I think frames the great problem of plastic pollution. Read it for background info.

 

Here are some pictures I took at my local Kroger store in the last few days.

customer with plastic water bottles

 

rows after row of plastic soda bottles

 

 

stacks of plastic water bottles

 

 

It I obvious that the problem is more than just the plastic bags at grocery store checkout. However the proposal for a 7 cent tax on each plastic bag is a good start. The only thing that seems to work is a financial stimulus to get the public’s attention.

 

The real solution to the plastic container problem is inventing a material that can do the job that the present materials do but with the medium- and long-term characteristic of being able to dissolve into the earth with no harmful effects. Otherwise we will have to depend on financial incentives to make the public help us KEEP MEMPHIS BEAUTIFUL.

 

If any reader has thoughts on this subject, I would certainly love to hear them.

 

 

 

 

Amazon and Nashville/Memphis

Monday, November 19th, 2018

Now that the election is over, let us get back to important things like comparing Memphis/Shelby County to Nashville/Davidson County.

We have the news that Nashville is getting a piece of the Amazon pie, 5000 high paying jobs. It comes at a high taxpayer price but is probably worth it. Why Nashville and not Memphis?

Comparing Nashville to Memphis has been a project for me for some time. It is not easy to go through all the published financial data and come up with understandable comparison data. However, let us start with a few facts.

Population: Shelby County: 936,961, Davidson County: 691,243

Population of the core city: Memphis 653,236, Nashville 444,297

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Area: Shelby County: 755 sq. miles, Davidson County: 525 sq. miles

Area of the core city: Memphis, 324 sq. miles, Urban Nashville, 198 sq. miles, general service area 327 sq. miles for a total of 525 square miles.

Conclusion: population density of core city Memphis 2016/sq. mile

Population of core city Nashville 2243/sq. mile

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Property tax revenue: Memphis $458,671,000, Shelby County $793,849,000 for a total of $1,252,520,000 or 1.25 billion.

Property taxes, Nashville Metro, $971,643,000.

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Budget of Memphis and Shelby County $1.88 billion.

Budget of Metro Nashville $2.23 billion.

Budget expenditures per resident Memphis and Shelby County $2006

Budget expenditure per resident of Metro Davidson $3226

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Debt service as a % of operating expenditures

Metro Nashville                  9%

Memphis                               20%

Shelby County                     21.45%

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Memphis pension liability 2018- $2.68 billion 89.6% funding ratio

Shelby County pension liability 2017- $1.2 billion 71% funding ratio

Nashville Metro pension liability 2017- 3.08 billion 95.4% funded

 

Memphis OPEB liability 2018 $334 million, 0.8% funded

Shelby County OPEB liability 2017 $232 million 83.3% funded

Nashville Metro OPEB liability $2.33 billion, zero % funded

Typical Winter utility bill

Memphis- $244.10

Nashville- $375.65

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The Statement of Net Position presents information on all the Government’s assets, deferred outflows of resources, liabilities, and deferred inflows of resources, with the difference reported as net position. Over time, increases or decreases in net position may serve as a useful indicator of whether the financial position of the Government is improving or deteriorating.

 

Metro Nashville net position decreased by $266 million for the year ending 2017.

Memphis net position decreases by $58 million for the year ending 2017.

Shelby County net position increased by $86 million for the year ending 2017

 

If you have additional financial comparison information or disagree with any of the above information, please let me know.

 

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I think Memphis is a great city, beautiful trees, weather is consistently great, wonderful  people and compared to Nashville, a low cost of living. What is the difference?

 

EDUCATION AND TRAINED WORK FORCE.

 

We are told that these 5000 jobs Amazon will bring to Nashville have an average salary of $150,000/year. These are jobs that require high tech skills in management, engineering, computer science and programming. It is a pleasure to go to the Amazon website as its ease of use is outstanding and much better than its competitors.

 

However, Amazon’s main business is selling things made by others and getting those things to you fast and at a low cost.

 

Memphis needs to compete in the area of technical job training and skills that are needed in the next few years in manufacturing, health care, auto and aircraft maintenance, warehousing and transportation. Our new governor has promised to continue free junior college training (Tennessee Promise) and hopefully he will allow qualified non-profits like our local Moore Tech College to participate in the Tennessee Promise program.

 

Our local shortage of trained people needed by companies like Amazon will not be solved in a few years but while we upgrade our primary grade education, we need to emphasize trade school education to upgrade our local working wage level and reduce our comparative high poverty level.

 

I would appreciate your thoughts on what we can do to help Memphis to reach the next level of prosperity. Memphis is great, but we can make it grow and prosper with the right education policies. EDUCATION IS THE ANSWER.