On January 2, Metro Council unanimously passed the “Do Better” Bill on its third and final reading. What a great way to kick off the New Year!
Big businesses seeking property tax breaks or cash grants from the city will now have to share basic information on the number of jobs they’ll create, wages and benefits, workforce development and apprenticeship utilization, how many jobs will be filled by Davidson County residents, and past safety and wage records when applying for these public subsidies. The bill has the potential to increase transparency and help Metro Council make better economic decisions on behalf of all its constituents.
Stand Up Nashville believes that our tax dollars should be used to attract businesses that provide a living wage and excellent benefits because it is good for their bottom line and they are proud of how they treat their employees. The “Do Better” Bill moves us in the right direction.
Council members Anthony Davis, Erica Gilmore, and Fabian Bedne deserve immense credit for their fierce leadership in moving this important legislation through committee and three readings. Their willingness to work with diverse stakeholders without letting the bill get watered down is a real breakthrough in policy making for the common good.
The bill could quite possibly be the first of its kind in the country and represents a turn away from just green lighting deals and asking questions later, or never at all. It makes clear that growth in and of itself is not enough. There are far too many hardworking people who are still struggling to make ends meet in the midst of this boom, especially in communities of color that have long been excluded from investment.
The “Do Better” Bill challenges us to put equity and inclusiveness at the heart of the way we do business and measure success in our beloved city. It also recognizes that working people and the middle class are engines of the economy. The bill has always been about leading with these values and putting the city’s money where its mouth is when it comes to tackling growing inequality.
While passage of the bill is a significant victory, it’s only the first step. How it gets implemented and how public officials are held accountable is the next leg of this journey. More than anything, the “Do Better” Bill calls on us to walk the hard walk of transforming our city into a place where everyone can thrive and prosper together.
This win goes out to everyone fighting for a better, more just and equitable Nashville. Big change never happens in isolation. There are people and organizations across the city doing extraordinary things to improve the quality of life of all Nashvillians. Let’s savor this victory while we keep our eyes on the bigger prize.