Town's Tax Playbook Reveals Manipulation: Survey, Timing of Ballot, Messaging


The town has been planning the storm drain tax for over a year, even before it declared a fiscal emergency last June.

The town's tax consultant developed a "playbook" for the town to tee up the storm drain tax for passage at a cost of approximately $170,000 to residents.

The town's "playbook" outlines various approaches to zeroing in on a palatable amount to tax residents, associated messaging to sway them, and the timing of the tax initiative to take advantage of the timeliness of the Rheem sinkhole and avoid competing ballot measures during regular elections.

It also provides the "benefit" of incumbents running for re-election to not have their names next to tax increases on the same ballot.

A recent article in the SF Chronicle entitled "How political consultants help cities sell tax increases", detailing this increasingly frequent strategy to grease skids for tax increases is here]:

Moraga's Tax Playbook

Moraga's playbook never publicly made it out of an audit and finance committee meeting, but the tactics certainly did.

Here are the black-and-white recommendations and reasons, straight from the source:

On the timing and structure of the ballot:

On the "community priorities survey":

On the ballot marketing process itself:

Source: April 2017 DRAFT Storm Drainage Funding Feasibility Study

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