Murray City Council votes in favor of 1 percent payroll tax on first reading

After a vote on Thursday, it’s possible you’ll pay a 1 percent payroll tax if you work in Murray.

Last month the city voted to draft an ordinance to implement the tax. On Thursday, the city voted in favor of the measure on the first reading.

Murray Mayor Jack Rose broke a six to six tie vote among city council members, approving a 1 percent payroll tax.

"I was expecting it, to be honest with you," said Daniel Kelley, who works and lives in Murray.

One more reading has to happen before the tax passes. The decision still disappointed many, including Kelley.

"I don’t like this new tax proposal at all. It’s not fair. There’s a lot of lower income families" Kelley said.

Before the vote, council member Danny Hudspeth recommended lowering the tax to 0.5 percent.

"You got in place what you wanted to get in place. I think you should at least consider reducing it," Hudspeth told council members who supported the tax.

They still went forward with the current proposal. They also voted to make an amendment that stops the tax from rising again for three years. 

They also voted in favor of a resolution that lists lowering property taxes as one of their goals for implementing the payroll tax. 

"It’s a force that is negative to our community to be that high when people come into our community and look to build or buy here," Rose said.

Rose says first the tax has to generate enough to eliminate the city sticker that costs people who live, work or do regular business in Murray $50. He says then the tax will go toward a long list of other projects.

"A lot of people who are concerned about this are people who don’t live in Murray. They don’t pay the high property tax. They don’t pay the insurance tax," Rose said.

"I know it’s going to hurt them. It’s going to be terrible," he said.

Kelley still worries what the would mean for Murray workers.

The next vote is set to happen in two weeks. If approved, the payroll tax will be in place effective Jan. 1, 2018. The city council also voted in favor of an ordinance that eliminates the city sticker. That ordinance also needs another vote to take effect.

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