Election day nears; pre-K sales tax debates continue - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Election day nears; pre-K sales tax debates continue

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With Spiderman on his shoes and his jacket, Jacob Harvey is going on four years old. With Spiderman on his shoes and his jacket, Jacob Harvey is going on four years old.
"There's a lot of research that shows that the brain develops 80 percent from birth to age 5," said Perea Preschool principal Alicia Norman. "There's a lot of research that shows that the brain develops 80 percent from birth to age 5," said Perea Preschool principal Alicia Norman.
But opponents say the plan is not as easy as one-two-three. But opponents say the plan is not as easy as one-two-three.

(WMC-TV) - With Spiderman on his shoes and his jacket, Jacob Harvey is going on four years old.

He spends the day at home with his with mother Laterika McKinnie. She says he is a smart and active kid.

"Hard to get him in day care, you know, right now without me being employed, and you know I can't get the voucher right now," she said. "He's at the point where he needs to be in a school facility learning."

On Wednesday, proponents of a proposed half-cent sales tax hike that would pay for a Memphis pre-K program invited an Action News 5 crew to Perea Preschool. The program would provide basic educational concepts in a structured fashion.

"There's a lot of research that shows that the brain develops 80 percent from birth to age 5," said Perea Preschool principal Alicia Norman.

But opponents say the plan is not as easy as one-two-three.

"It's not a good law. Now is not the time," said sales tax opponent Reverend Kenneth Whalum

He asks voters to decide against the pre-K plan because a sales tax hike unfairly burdens the poor.

"We're for pre-K, but we're against this regressive means if paying for it," he said. "The referendum itself is very, very vague and that it does not say any of the things that the proponents are promising."

John Moore is president and CEO of the Memphis Chamber of Commerce, which has been campaigning for this plan all along.

"A sales tax is regressive," he said.

He says Memphis cannot always rely on the PILOTS program, must reduce property taxes, and provide a solid workforce to attract business.

He says a pre-K program provides two things.

"It starts the workforce off on the right track, and then it helps us attract the jobs that they're going to need when they finish school," said Moore.

Polls open first thing Thursday. For a recap of the referendum and voting information, click here.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. 

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