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Targeted Tax Levies May Fly

The latest Pew Research poll results indicate that while there is little appetite among voters in the U.S. for generic state level tax increases to balance state budgets, there are some big nuances that may be useful to maintaining public safety budgets through targeted tax levies.

Granted this article is just a cursory look at national numbers, but the results are signnificant nonetheless. 

The study shows that "...  when asked about possible ways of balancing their state’s budget, large majorities oppose cutting public primary and secondary education funding (73%) and funding for police, fire and other public safety programs (71%)."

And while 58 percent oppose "raising taxes" to balance state budgets in general, "... most Americans see this [balancing state budgets] as a responsibility of state governments..."

Nearly three-quarters of Republicans (73%) and 60% of independents say states should balance their budgets on their own, either by raising taxes or cutting state services. Democrats are more divided, but nearly half (48%) say the states should balance their own budgets without federal help... 

So, if people overwhelmingly do NOT want to cut public safety (71%) and they generally believe the responsiblity of solving state/local budget problems rests with state/local governments (58%) and poll after poll shows there is a reluctance to increase budget deficits at any level, it may be possible, with the right messaging and a strong local campaign, to force a targeted tax levy that specifically funds public safety to "prevent cuts to public safety, "to create a permanent fund for a valuable public service that the politicians can't waste elsewhere" and to do it "without increasing the deficit."

IAFF Local 557 was recently successful with such a campaign (in the South - a traditionally reluctant tax base), getting 89 percent approval among voters to make an annual local millage permanent.  The recent Pew poll shows that maybe Local 557's strategy can be duplicated on a local level, to save their own community (without raising the deficit).

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