Do what John Gott did

April 9th, 2009 by Ken

Democrats, which control both houses of the state legislature, as well as the governor’s mansion, are looking at ways to increase state taxes in a manner which will be approved by the voters.

They’ve been doing extensive polling and the results have been anything but encouraging.  Most people say they will vote against any tax increase.

But John Gott, the former superintendent of the North Thurston School District, had a way to gain voter approval for just about any tax increase.   Whenever the district needed more money for new schools, Gott would place a ballot measure for voter approval.   But, he would also do something else.  He would place a second measure on the ballot, asking for money to build a new swimming pool.

Gott knew that the swimming pool levy would never pass, but he also knew it gave his other construction levy a better chance.   “Voters want to vote against new taxes,” he would say.   “I give them something to vote against.”

Gott went on to say that once having voted against a new swimming pool, they were more likely to vote for the remaining bond issue, having felt like they did their duty to watch their money.

That’s the advice for the Democrats.   Place several tax issues on the ballot.   Make one of them an income tax.   You know the voters will turn it down.   The other can be a sales tax extension.  Having voted against an income tax, the voter would be more likely to vote for a sales tax increase.

Gott was only wrong once.  He placed both a bond issue for new schools, and a bond issue for a new swimming pool on the  ballot.   Both passed.

Posted in Government, History, Informational, Local Politics, The Real News

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