Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The (Stifled) Voice of the Voter

A majority of Monroe County residents say they want to be punched in the nose!

Well, not really.  But we bet an overwhelming majority would say so, if asked, "Would you rather be punched in the nose or decapitated?"

Last week the Democrat and Chronicle published results of its recent "Voice of the Voter" survey The survey found "Voters Say No to Tax Shifts," in the words of the headline.   This implies that voters are rejecting proposals floated for tax relief, most notably the call for a property tax cap.

Yet the wording seemed curious.   Who cares about a tax shift?

Getting government to pick one pocket instead of the other accomplishes nothing.  Most taxpayers want the government substantially out of both pockets altogether.   This curosity was explained once we read the question that Voice of the Voter asked:

Would you support or oppose a plan to eliminate property taxes and fund suburban schools through an increase in state income taxes?

Did they even need to ask the question to know the result?   That's the stifled voice of the voter, not the actual voice.   Stifled by a question carefully crafted to shape the result.

Here's what Voice of the Voter should have asked instead:
Would you support or oppose a plan to reduce property taxes by cutting school district spending across the board and eliminating state mandates on school districts?
Ask them that, Voice of the Voter.

If you dare.

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