Confusion will mean failed tax

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 6, 2003

If voters are confused about Gov. Bob Riley’s tax and accountability plan, there’s no way they’ll vote to support it.

According to Dr. D’Linell Finley, a political science professor at Auburn University-Montgomery, the inability to understand Riley’s tax package could single-handily defeat the Sept. 9 referendum.

Finley, who has taught political science in Alabama for 29 years, said this is the biggest vote state citizens have ever faced, and he believes misinformation is what has led to low poll numbers for Riley’s plan.

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Recent poll numbers conducted by larger newspaper and TV stations across the state, indicate that a majority of low-income voters and black voters still don’t believe in the package.

According to a Birmingham News survey, the strongest opposition to Riley’s package came from households with incomes under $30,000.

Among black voters, the poll suggested 44 percent would support the plan.

On Tuesday morning, Finley sat at AUM as Riley made one of his passionate pleas to voters in the state. Afterwards, Finley said he believes Riley can still win passage of the referendum if he does a better job educating the public.

Michael Ciamarra, vice president of the Alabama Policy Institute and the former policy advisor to Gov. Fob James, said he and his organization had not taken sides on this issue. However, Ciamarra did suggest that confusion among voters &045;&045; no matter what the issue or candidate &045;&045; spells doom at the polls.

That also means it’s hard for the general public to understand the plan, he said.