This game has the illusion of a non-linear game but the fact is that you have to set everything exactly how the creators think a city should be run if you want to create a large & profitable city. You can't raise the taxes too high or demand for property goes down, you can't make taxes too low or you can't pay for the necessities that the people demand. There are no real options to bypass the overwhelming importance of taxes. It doesn't matter if you have the best education, or the best healthcare, etc. Taxes are the only thing that makes a difference in this game and you can't really decide what they should be.