If you just mention the word taxes to a Memphis, the response is always similar.
Memphis Jeff Downey says, "If they raise taxes any higher, I won't be able to afford to put gas in that car right there. They're taxing me to death right now."
Memphis Renee Brown says, "I think they're pretty high in this area and I think they should not continue to raise taxes, it always seems to be their answer to everything, raise the taxes on people."
The City of Memphis is juggling with changing the current tax rate of $3.11, with several proposals on the table to bump it up to $3.36, or possibly even higher.
Memphis Chief Administrative Officer George Little says,"The overall tax burden here is still lower, why would I say that well for one thing we don't have a state income tax."
Little says even without an income tax and a possible increase in our tax rate, the tax burden in Memphis is still lower than Desoto County, Mississippi and Davidson County or the Nashville area.
Little says, "For a comparable period, the same house, the square footage, same features was roughly 150, 155,000 so they're rate may be lower, but it's assessed against a more expensive house."
Little says the truth of the matter is property tax rate in Memphis in the last 7 years has gone down. Even so Memphis City Councilman Jim Strickland says taxes are a big concern, especially since the population has dropped by 100-thousand in the last 30 years..
Strickland says, "The number one reason is crime, number two schools and they do overshadow it, but a factor, not the factor, but a factor is our high property tax rate. In my opinion we can't raise it any higher because we'll have more and more people moving out."
Here's what we also know, the revenue from property taxes goes to pay for streets, libraries, community centers and much more. Little says council has to compromise on what's important to this city while trying not to burden taxpayers.
Little says, "I know they put in a lot of late hours and they really tried to figure this thing out and do the right thing."