The issue of consolidation of Memphis and Shelby County government has been with us a long time. Generally, I support the concept of consolidation. It has worked well in areas like Nashville, Louisville, and Indianapolis. While it may not cause significant savings, at least not until the long run, it will likely provide more efficient delivery of government services, eliminate duplication, and end double taxation of Memphians. Also, it will help with economic development. The Chamber of Commerce has often remarked that it is difficult to recruit out of state industry when we have to go through two sets of red tape (county and city).

Of course, much depends on exactly what the currently meeting Charter Commission comes up with in terms of a proposed Metro charter. I won’t know whether I support that until I see it. If it adopts one by August, all Shelby County voters will be able to vote it up or down in a referendum this November. Complicating matters is the state law requirement that, to be adopted, consolidation requires a majority of voters inside Memphis proper PLUS a majority of all voters outside Memphis. Based on my knowledge of voting rights law, I think this might violate federal law.