Interesting questions about the legitimacy of Metro Council's decision
to fund next year's city budget with a $20 increase in the county's auto registration fee are raised in a post at BillHobbs.com
. Looking at the relevant part
of the Tennessee Code that addresses county motor vehicle taxes, Hobbs wonders:
[a] Is this $20 fee increase the kind of "motor vehicle privilege tax" described in section 5-8-102 of the Code?
[b] If so, did Council meet the requirements of paragraph (c) of that section, which calls for a two-thirds majority vote on two consecutive occasions to authorize such a tax?
The June 7 vote on first reading was 16-5 (13 abstentions).
The June 21 vote on second reading was 22-3 (11 abstentions).
The June 28 vote on third reading was 26-10 (3 abstentions).
If this section of the Code does apply, then the validity of Council's action may turn on the meaning of the Code's phrase "two-thirds (2/3) vote of the county legislative body
." If it means two-thirds of the entire 40-member council, then none of the three votes meets the standard. If it means two-thirds of those present and voting, with abstentions included, then only the vote on third reading makes it. But if it means two-thirds of those voting yes or no (with abstentions equivalent to not voting), then the votes on first and second readings clear the hurdle.
Bring on the lawyers.