Most of us are familiar with the lyrics from the famed ‘60s Disney musical film, Mary Poppins: “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, the medicine go down…”

The “medicine” I’m referring to is the current proposed property tax increase in our fair city while “the sugar” is something I have enjoyed ever since moving to Nashville more than two decades ago. That brand of “sugar” is specifically called “Metropolitan Government.” As we celebrate 50 years of the wise decision made to merge our city and county governments, we should be aware of how beneficial that change was to our collective pocketbooks.

When I moved here from Knoxville, the value of the home I purchased was higher, but the taxes were less than I had been paying (when combining the Knoxville city and Knox County rates of more than 20 years ago). If one had moved here at that same time from either Memphis or Chattanooga, they would have had a similar experience. These relative cost savings have occurred during the course of Nashville’s five-decade governmental metropolitan endeavor.

Based on the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury’s latest report and updating it to 2011, here is what the figures show:

–Chattanooga/Hamilton County 24% higher

–Knoxville/Knox County 20% higher

–Memphis/Shelby County 78% higher (gulp)

These compelling numbers reflect an efficient, effective form of government, as well as the bold leadership skills of most of the city’s mayors along with their prudence as good managers plus an enlightened Metro council.

Today, as we face the first proposed property tax increase in six years, I, like most of you, have no fondness for paying more taxes. Yet, I also know that to keep our vital city moving forward and addressing our growing needs and our opportunity for potential greatness, we must invest in our future. Frankly, I’m impressed and amazed at the job Mayor Karl Dean and his team has done in keeping the momentum going during one of the toughest economic times which our country has endured since the Great Depression of the 1930s. They have stayed on task, on course and on target with the priorities of education, public safety and economic development. And, now, it is time for Metro property owners to step up even if it means doing so with reluctance and gritted teeth.

If one thinks about it, we have a lot of “sugar” here:

–Lowest taxes of any of Tennessee’s largest cities

–A brightening economic outlook, and

–Competent and focused governmental leadership

Like any medicine, tax increases are not necessarily savored. However, a prescription of a bit of seemly distasteful but preventative medicine allows us to remain healthy. I encourage everyone to study this issue and develop an informed opinion with the strains of “A Spoonful of Sugar” echoing faintly in the background.