On Tuesday, the Memphis City Council announced they would put a vote on November’s ballot asking to increase the local sales tax. They also pushed forward the possibility of another referendum for a gasoline tax.

It’s not like most of Memphis wants higher taxes. Take the possible gas tax increase: when the Shell station near our office at Poplar/Perkins offered free gas in the morning, it caused such a traffic jam that the police had to take over the streets for the entire day. Car crashes occurred one after the other as people clamored to the tank.

However, spending is up and revenue is down. When the budget is out of whack like in Memphis, you only have so many choices.  Increasing tax revenue is one of those choices. Cutting spending, and especially cutting out wastes of money, is a crucial second option.

The city hopes a tax increase will help cover the cost of civil services, like police and fire departments.

Wouldn’t it be nice if all of us could just increase our incomes to solve our financial problems? Unfortunately, when the city government makes more money, it often means you get to keep even less of yours.

It will be interesting to see how Memphians react to the referendum come November. Do we choose higher taxes, lower spending, or something in between?

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