More Polls on Tax

The Silicon Valley Leadership Group is sponsoring another round
of polling to gauge support for a new sales tax to fund extending
BART to San Jose.
Gilroy – The Silicon Valley Leadership Group is sponsoring another round of polling to gauge support for a new sales tax to fund extending BART to San Jose.

And while the group will not release the poll to the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, its information will be used by the agency to campaign for the tax.

“I have to trust them because they’re not going to tell you that it’s going to pass when it isn’t,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Don Gage, who is also a VTA director. “We need the information to see how close we are because right now, we’re not making it.”

In April, the SVLG released portions of a poll that showed a quarter-cent tax measure falling several points shy of the two-thirds support it will need to pass. The group plans to make some part of its latest poll available in January, in time for the VTA board to consider a sales tax ballot measure at its February meeting.

A spokeswoman for the SVLG group declined to provide any information about the poll. Gage, who helped write questions for the poll, said that it’s very similar to the first poll but also includes questions about what it will take for people to support the tax measure.

“I asked them to put that in there,” Gage said. “We never asked that question before and it’s important so we know how to campaign for this.”

VTA General Manager Michael Burns said the SVLG will fund any campaign in support of new tax measure, as it did with Measure A in 2000, when voters approved a half-cent tax to fund BART and other transit projects. He said he isn’t bothered by the influence the group, a conglomeration of business interests, wields with the VTA.

“We obviously can’t afford a campaign to support a ballot measure,” Burns said. “The board has already recognized a sales tax is necessary and I think the board takes comfort in the fact that if a private organization is willing to put up money to fund a campaign they believe it will be successful.”

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