Tennessee Dem Gov Candidate Karl Dean Caught Misleading Voters on Taxes

Just weeks into his campaign for Tennessee governor, Democrat Karl Dean is giving voters clear evidence that he can’t be trusted to tell the truth. At a recent event at Vanderbilt University, the former Nashville Mayor claimed he wouldn’t raise taxes if elected, and offered his record as mayor as proof.  But unfortunately for Dean, his record as mayor shows the exact opposite. Despite pledging that he would not raise taxes when he ran for office in 2007, Dean successfully pushed for a 13 percent increase in property taxes once elected.

KARL DEAN: “I don’t want to raise taxes on Tennesseans, let me be clear about that, and I would point to my record as mayor.”

Karl Dean has shown in the past that he has no problem breaking his word when it comes to standing up for taxpayers, but now he’s repeating the same empty rhetoric he used when he first ran for office. Tennessee voters can’t trust Dean to tell the truth or keep his promises.


In 2012, despite being elected in 2007 on a platform of no property tax increases, Karl Dean pushed to raise the Nashville area property tax by 13 percent. “Mayor Karl Dean’s two-month sales pitch for continued government investment ended in victory Tuesday as the Metro Council voted by a commanding 4-to-1 margin to approve Davidson County’s first property tax hike in seven years… Dean has framed the 13 percent property tax increase as a necessary move to stave off ‘draconian’ cuts, while also ensuring investments: addressing long-neglected infrastructure, raising teacher pay and giving Metro employees a salary bump. On Tuesday, the council agreed with Dean’s case by a sizeable margin despite many calling it one of their most difficult votes.” (Joey Garrison, “Council approves 53-cent property tax hike, budget by wide margin,” Nashville City Paper, June 20, 2012)

Councilman Robert Duvall, the council’s leading tax hike critic, called the approved budget a “tax and spend plan.” “Councilman Robert Duvall, the council’s leading tax hike critic who cast himself the ‘point person’ for opposition, called the now-approved budget ‘a tax and spend plan.’ The conservative Antioch councilman proposed cutting Metro schools’ budget by $29.6 million; Metro Hospital Authority by $29.5 million; Metro Transit Authority’s subsidy by $4.9; and eliminating the pay increase for Metro employees.” (Joey Garrison, “Council approves 53-cent property tax hike, budget by wide margin,” Nashville City Paper, June 20, 2012)

In 2007, Dean questioned the constitutionality of a new Nashville Metro charter amendment that required voter approval of any property tax increases. “Bob Clement is slapping Karl Dean again for questioning the constitutionality of the new Metro charter amendment requiring voter approval of property tax increases. As Metro law director, Dean said the amendment probably wouldn’t withstand legal challenge.” (Jeff Woods, “There He Goes Again,” Nashville Scene, Aug. 8, 2007)

Dean said, in response to his mayoral opponent’s attack ad on him potentially raising taxes, “I am not in favor of a tax increase. I am opposed to a tax increase.” “The mayoral race leaped off the debate stage onto the city’s airwaves yesterday when hopeful Bob Clement launched a TV ad claiming opponent Karl Dean ‘can think of lots of reasons to raise taxes.’” (“Clement, Dean enter air war,” The City Paper, Aug. 28, 2007)

At a campaign press conference, Dean reiterated his opposition to increasing property taxes. “At a press conference surrounded by supporters at the Fulton Metro Office Building on 2nd Avenue, Dean responded ‘I oppose any increase in property taxes and Bob Clement knows it. I have said it over and over again, but he is now spending tens of thousands of dollars on a negative attack ad anyways, trying to scare people into thinking there is a property tax threat. Let me say it again, I am against any increase in property taxes. I am standing here at a voting site because the only increase we’ll have in taxes will be the one the voters decide they want.’” (Ken Whitehouse, “Dean reacts to Clement attack,” Nashville Post, Aug. 28, 2007)