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Better schools, safer roads make sales tax an easy call

Caller: Hello, I'm from the Pasco Republican Party and I wonder if you have a couple of minutes to answer a few questions.

Respondent: I'm not a Republican.

Caller: Why not?

Respondent: Um, plenty of reasons, none of which I care to share with you.

Caller: What are you? A tax-and-spend liberal?

Respondent: Actually, I don't belong to either of the major political parties. I'm an independent.

Caller: Terrific. Just who we're trying to reach.

Respondent: Why didn't you say so?

Caller: I'll ask the questions here. Now, would you support bringing a new business to a commercially zoned highway if you knew the business will add hundreds of jobs, make significant contributions to the tax rolls in both property and sales tax collections, and make it more convenient for its neighbors to shop for groceries and household goods?

Respondent: Absolutely.

Caller: Okay, that's one for Wal-Mart.

Respondent: Is the Republican Party in favor of Wal-Mart?

Caller: That was a test question. Actually, we're just into poll manipulation. This whole thing is kind of new to us. Our chairman said at a public meeting that county commissioners would fire their pollsters if they only brought in a sample of 400 people. He doesn't understand scientific surveying and neither do we.

Now for the big issue, do you support increasing the sales tax in Pasco. . . .

Respondent: Yes.

Caller: Wait a minute, I'm not done. Would you support it if you knew it will raise your property taxes?

Respondent: It won't.

Caller: What if you knew that a neighboring county considered a gasoline tax increase 14 years after it approved a penny sales tax?

Respondent: I don't understand the relevance.

Caller: Me neither, I'm just reading the script. I guess somebody thinks they're tied together somehow.

Would you support the sales tax increase in Pasco if you knew 59 other counties also didn't know what they were doing and approved it?

Respondent: Yes. It seems like we're behind, not leading.

Caller: Speaking of leading, would you support the sales tax increase if you knew nearly all the elected Republicans in Pasco County said they are voting for it?

Respondent: Wouldn't you? You're the Republican, after all.

Caller: Would you vote for the sales tax increase if you knew a lot of the money to support the campaign is coming from sources outside Pasco?

Respondent: Well, I see an out-of-county business is paying for the antitax literature. I don't see why there should be a double standard even if one of the antitax advocates stood up at a public meeting and said people from outside the county shouldn't be involved in the debate.

Caller: I'll put you down as undecided.

Respondent: Now, let me ask you something.

Would you support a sales tax increase if you knew your children's school will be safer?

If you knew your school property tax will be cut for 10 years?

If you knew it will preserve environmentally sensitive land?

If you knew it was going to make portable defibrillators available in public buildings and senior centers?

If you knew it was going to build two new fire stations and add eight firetrucks and eight ambulances?

If you knew it was going to help replace sheriff's patrol cars?

If you knew it could help keep down juvenile crime?

If you knew it was going to ease school crowding?

If you knew it was going to make some intersections safer?

If you knew it was going to improve U.S. 19?

If you knew it was going to eliminate the traffic gridlock at State Road 54 and Interstate 75?

Caller: Hmmm, better schools, safer roads, green space? I have a hard time believing it.

Respondent: That's unfortunate. Maybe this will help:

Think of it as sales-tax-related program activities.