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January 22, 2013 / needhamgrassroots

Yes, THAT Frank Luntz: Americans support taxes for infrastructure investment

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A near unanimous 94% of Americans are concerned about our nation’s infrastructure.

Fully 84% of the public wants more money spent by the federal government — and 83% wants more spent by state governments — to improve America’s infrastructure.

And here’s the kicker: 81% of Americans are personally prepared to pay 1% more in taxes for the cause.

And Americans understand that infrastructure is not just roads, bridges and rails. In fact, they rated fixing energy facilities as their highest priority. Roads and highways scored second, and clean-water treatment facilities third.

Before the anti-Obama craziness had a chance to grab hold, there was a moment of reason, between the space of the end of the W. Bush years and the real start of the Obama term. And in that space, guess what? Even Frank Luntz–yes that Frank Luntz— recognized and affirmed: Americans are willing to pay higher taxes to fund infrastructure.

From Frank Luntz/LATimes — I’m a pollster and political consultant associated with Republican causes: the Contract with America, the “death tax” and, of course, ending wasteful Washington spending. So why am I behind the new stimulus legislation — the biggest spending bill ever to be considered by Congress? Maybe because when it comes to some things — crumbling schools, overcrowded highways, an ineffective energy system, clean-water facilities that don’t clean water and trains and planes that are always late — we’re all on the same side.

Last month, I conducted a national survey of 800 registered voters on their attitudes toward infrastructure investment. It was commissioned by Building America’s Future, a bipartisan coalition of elected officials — chaired by Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg — formed to support infrastructure investment.

The survey’s findings were unlike any other issue I have polled in more than a decade. Iraq, healthcare, taxes, education — they all predictably divide and polarize Americans into political camps. Not infrastructure.

Consider this: A near unanimous 94% of Americans are concerned about our nation’s infrastructure. And this concern cuts across all regions of the country and across urban, suburban and rural communities.

Fully 84% of the public wants more money spent by the federal government — and 83% wants more spent by state governments — to improve America’s infrastructure.

And here’s the kicker: 81% of Americans are personally prepared to pay 1% more in taxes for the cause.

It’s not uncommon for people to say they’d pay more to get more, but when you ask them to respond to a specific amount, support evaporates. (That 74% of normally stingy Republicans are on board for the tax increase is, to me, the most significant finding in the survey.)

This isn’t “soft” support for infrastructure either. It stretches from Maine to Montana, from California to Connecticut. Democrats (87%) and Republicans (74%) are prepared to, in Barack Obama’s words, put skin in the game, which tells you just how wide and deep the support is.

And Americans understand that infrastructure is not just roads, bridges and rails. In fact, they rated fixing energy facilities as their highest priority. Roads and highways scored second, and clean-water treatment facilities third.

Right now, 78% of Americans polled say government is responsible for the failure of America’s infrastructure. They don’t think the problems can be solved in the first 100 days of a new administration in Washington. Rather, they want ongoing strategic investments to improve America’s standard of living and our individual quality of life. When more than 98% of Americans believe they have “the right to demand” that America’s infrastructure is “efficient, convenient and modern,” Washington better not fail.

Does Congress get it? Think about that the next time you’re sitting in traffic.

From: Frank Luntz, Infrastructure: It’s Job 1 to Americans – latimes.com (1/23/2009) – http://s.shr.lc/141hxtL

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