A recent article in The Advocate professed that voters in a survey would approve paying more in taxes to pay for services. The headline of the article seemed rather definite on the topic.
The text of the article indicated that 51 percent of the respondents of this survey were pro-higher taxes on the matter.
I would say that 51 percent is hardly an overwhelming number, especially since the margin of error was plus or minus 3. At best, I would say that the responses were pretty evenly split. Wouldn’t you?
Of course, the devil is in the details. We do not know what the questions were, nor do we know how the questions were phrased. Anyone who has ever participated in a survey can tell you that, many times, questions are asked in such a way as to obtain the answer the questioner wants to receive.
I’d like to conduct a survey. I’ll even tell you what questions I would ask: Is it your opinion that gasoline taxes we currently pay should be used for roads and bridges? Do you think that taxes obtained from lottery and gambling proceeds should be spent on education, as originally promised? Do you think that money our state receives from the tobacco settlement should be used for health care, as it was intended? Do you think that money received by our state as a result of the BP oil spill should be spent on coastal restoration, as we were told? Would you approve of higher property taxes if it resulted in an increase in your apartment rent? Would you approve of an increase in income taxes on businesses if it meant price increases on items you purchase? Do you believe that a temporary tax will actually be temporary?
So, any survey takers out there, feel free to ask any of these questions on your next survey.