posted on June 06, 2006 13:43
When an issue is popular just try to get between a politician and the limelight and you take your life in your hands.
But when politicians start appointing task forces and committees to promote issues look out – it’s a sure sign the issue is unpopular. Otherwise, the politicians would be leading the charge themselves, instead of telling someone else to do it.
Local political leaders are supporting a committee, Friends of Wake County, to promote a property tax increase to pay for a billion dollar school bond. Bill Atkinson, the head of Wake Med Hospital, and Ann Goodnight, philanthropist and wife of SAS founder Jim Goodnight, have been chosen to lead the committee.
County Commission Chairman Tony Gurley praised Atkinson and Goodnight, saying they were picked because they are “well respected by business leaders and others in the community.” (News and Observer, 5/26/06). They are. But Gurley might well have added Atkinson and Goodnight are being offered as lambs to the slaughter because local politicians would much rather have Friends of Wake County leading the fight to increase property taxes – instead of doing it themselves.
Why? Because the Chamber of Commerce poll, the News and Observer/WRAL TV poll, and a poll by a non profit foundation all show voters overwhelmingly rejecting any bond that includes a tax increase.
The problem with the bonds isn’t that voters don’t support schools. The problem is they see elected officials spending millions – and hundreds of millions – on Convention Centers, parking decks and downtown hotels and they ask themselves, Why shouldn’t that money be spent on schools rather than raising taxes?
When politicians – like Mayor Meeker – have so much money they can afford to pay for a $200 million Convention Center, voters naturally wonder if it is really necessary to raise taxes to pay for schools.
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