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Instructions for Petition Initiative by Referendum to Establish Limits on Taxation Levied by the City of Knoxville

This ordinance-by-voter-petition, if adopted by the Knoxville City Council or approved by the voters of the City of Knoxville, would require voter approval in the future before the property tax rate could be increased above the level appearing in the ordinance, which is the current tax rate today.

To be successful the goal is to get 14,854 signatures to avoid any challenge to the number of valid signatures.

1. All signers must be registered voters within the city limits of Knoxville.
2. Voters must sign and print their names.
3. Each voter address must include house number, street name, city, state, and zip code. Ok to write small. No ditto marks allowed.
4. Petition signatures must be dated.
5. Please mail your original petition signatures to: Knox Liberty Organization PO Box 462 Knoxville, TN 37901
6. Apply Postage Stamp.

Please mail back the petition as soon as possible. Original petition signatures only. Mail back on or before July 27th. The campaign will be filing the petitions on July 30th.

Ok to mail back with only 1 or 2 signatures. If you want to collect more than 5 petition signatures you will need to print additional petition pages at or email

Questions, call Erik Wiatr at 865-659-6656. Paid for by Knox Liberty Organization.


Petition Signatures Progress

7,427 legal minimum  |  11,145 min goal  | 14,854 top goal
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Petition Campaign in the News

NEW: Tax cap backers gain momentum

Officials with the group, the Knox Liberty Organization, told us yesterday they’ve already raised approximately 2,600 signatures of the 7,427-plus they need to put the measure on the ballot for the November 2 general election (they’d like to raise nearly 15,000 signatures, however, to feel confident they can successfully fight off any legal challenges).

As of Tuesday, they said,  27,431 households had copies of the petition on the way to their mailboxes. Until recently, the signatures gathered by the Knox Liberty Organization have been collected by going from door-to-door as well as through events, meetings and the group’s website at

If the Knox County Election Commission certifies that at least 7,427 registered voters have signed the petition, the ordinance must be adopted by either Knoxville City Council or placed on the ballot, according to Erik Wiatr, a realtor and activist who chairs the Knox Liberty Organization.

If it’s adopted by either City Council or by the voters, it can only be changed by voter approval in the future if officials want to raise the property tax rate above today’s level of $2.46 per $100 of assessed value.

Wiatr said the main impetus for the initiative was last year’s 34% property tax hike in Nashville.

“Seeing that as a possibility in our city was a huge concern,” he said. “I started looking into the City charter and the referendum process, and eventually we got to this point.”

“I think we are moving in a direction where we will see a tax increase after this year’s election,” Wiatr said.

When asked about the possibility of the City encountering a fiscal emergency or economic downturn that leads to a severe drop in revenue, attorney Fox (who describes himself as the initiative’s “legal engineer”) said there are other ways to get money than with a property tax increase.

“We are not trying to starve the City of revenue,” Fox said. “As long as there’s good government and the property values go up, the City’s revenues are going to go up.”

Wiatr agreed, adding, “There can always be another referendum in the future and the City can justify it to the voters. I think this is the most responsible way, as it allows for the voters to be involved…. And I also hope it will prioritize economic growth as a way to expand the tax base without increasing the tax rate.”

Wiatr issued the following statement: “In the past, the property tax rate decreased due to the rise in property values and a state law that requires the rate to be decreased. The tax burden remains the same or higher on homeowners and businesses.”

Wiatr continued: “Mayor Kincannon’s admission that she thinks the tax rate needs to be increased above today’s current rate should be a concern for businesses and residents, especially low income and those on fixed incomes. Why the mayor would threaten cutting public safety instead of cutting $500,000 artwork, landscaping, and other non-essentials is another example of poor judgement that has resulted in police potentially being taken out of our schools, and high crime and record murder in our city.”

We think our readers can evaluate the worth of this proposal on their own. Regardless of its merits, it’s not at all unreasonable to think this proposal has a pretty good chance of getting on the ballot in November, and in today’s political climate there’s no telling how that vote would go. City voters traditionally veer to the Left, but with the GOP’s recently proven ability to “get the vote out” for their candidates we can’t help but wonder about the many “Trump” yard signs we still see every day and exactly how motivated their owners are going to be in November.

The group plans on turning in all the signatures by July 31.

Individuals interested in learning more about the petition drive or wanting to help collect more signatures can visit, email, or call Erik Wiatr at 865-659-6656.  They plan on turning in all the signatures by July 31

J.J. Stambaugh can be reached at

Published on July 7, 2021


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