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THE THINKING MAN'S GUIDE TO DEFEATING BOND ISSUES

Chuck Gunther
Anchorage, AK
December 2005

(The purpose of this paper is to promote effective opposition to bond issues and the resultant accelerating taxation.)

Most bond issues are a cheap political trick to grow the budget and taxes by making extra purchases on the "credit card" outside of the operating budget. Usually when bond issues are defeated the necessary items are purchased through the operating budget where politicians have miraculously "found the money". This is a political version of "bait and switch", a "shell game". Charles Ponzi would have recognized this ploy. A bond issue isn't permission to buy something (they already have permission to buy things); it is permission to raise taxes by raising the tax cap. Taxes that grow 7% yearly are a serious problem for citizens whose salaries grow only 2-3% yearly. They use our tax money to lobby us for more spending/taxes. Items purchased through the operating budget raise taxes much less than purchases through bond issues. Don't try to appease the politicians by passing bond issues because this only encourages more bond issues.

  1. The most powerful weapon against bond issues is organized opposition, because when voters hear only one side of an issue they are easy victims. Emphasize the deceptive nature of bond issues.

  2. It is best to form a permanent anti-tax group and website that taxpayers can consult for guidance.

  3. The strategy to use is similar to that used to defeat a political candidate.

  4. Funding -- Seek donations from businesses, industries, groups, and taxpayers that will be hurt by the excess taxation. Expect to be outspent by the "spending lobby".

  5. Cost Effective Media Campaign:

    1. Orange flyers titled "voter alert" are very effective. Have them distributed in the local newspapers (Cost 10 cents each) or by mail.

    2. Radio is inexpensive and provides widespread effortless info to voters.

    3. News reporters will provide some free media coverage (usually slanted against you). News releases by your group are free and helpful.

    4. If bond issue proponents say "it's for the children" then use children in your ads asking that they not be burdened with this new debt upon entering the work force.

    5. Spend 80% of your funds in the last two weeks of the campaign.

  6. Examples:

    1. In the '05/'06 Mat-Su Borough elections voters rejected $20 million worth of bond issues (33% of the total package). This was achieved by dedicated anti-tax groups.

    2. The Interior Taxpayers Association in Fairbanks has a long running and successful record in defeating bond issues. We might want to emulate them.

    3. In April '06 Anchorage voters rejected $100 million in unnecessary school district bond issues (This was the most overwhelming defeat of bond issues since 1988). This occurred due to much truthful anti- tax publicity by mayoral candidate Jack Frost; plus the large and growing middle aged and senior populations of Anchorage don't have children in school anymore; plus the high level of taxes and the high growth rate of taxes have become burdensome.

  7. Don't waste time/money/effort trying to defeat all bond issues in the package. Attack only the more frivolous, they are much easier to defeat than, for example, a new school in a fast growing area like Mat-Su. Defeating the "needed" school would only trigger a special election at which a large array of political and financial power would force acceptance of the bond issue. The powerful forces in opposition are:

    1. The Bond Industry

    2. The Construction Industry

    3. Newly formed Citizen's Groups

    4. Politicians seeking free publicity.

The following groups have been very successful at defeating bond issues:

  1. Interior Taxpayers' Association (Fairbanks, Alaska)
  2. Mat-Su Valley Property Owner's Association
  3. Mat-Su Taxpayers' Association
  4. Copperhead Consulting Services (Paul Door)
    Political campaign consultant specializing in defeating bond issues: 632 Poplar St.
    P.O. Box 188
    Ocheyedan, IA 51354
    Ph: 712-758-3660,
    Fax: 712-758-3475,
    Email


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