Can you spot all the buzzwords for ‘tax hike?’ Take our quiz
You'll almost never hear politicians in New Jersey tell you that they are going to raise your taxes, but you’ve probably noticed your taxes still go up. If you listen very closely, you’ll hear lawmakers telegraph tax increases without ever uttering a word about tax hikes.
Let's take a little quiz. See if you can figure out what politicians really mean when they start pulling out their favorite buzzwords.
Notice a pattern?
"All of those are euphemisms for 'let’s raise some taxes here,'" said Peter Woolley, a political science professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University. “All politicians want to be Mary Poppins. They want to prescribe medicine for you and then they want to sugarcoat it.”
Another big catch word in Trenton is "investment." Be wary of that one too.
“Investors in private business are people who are volunteering their money, but investors in the public arena are people who are not volunteering their money. They are taxpayers. There’s only two ways for the legislature to invest in New Jersey. That’s either with taxpayer money or that’s with bondholder money that taxpayers have to pay back sooner and later,” Woolley said.
Most people are on to the semantic games played by politicians, said Montclair State University political science professor Brigid Harrison.
“I know politicians think that they’re being coy. I don’t know that that actually works out for them,” said Harrison. “I think that even they are aware that most voters know exactly what they’re doing.”
It’s not just tax increases that are thinly disguised with euphemisms, Harrison pointed out. Anti-abortion advocates are "pro-life." Those in favor of abortion rights are "pro-choice." Politicians almost never use the words "illegal aliens" either. They say, "undocumented immigrants"
The favorite tax increase synonym for Monmouth University poll director Patrick Murray is "tax parity."
His impression of a politician on the subject: "This thing is just like the other things we’ve already been taxing. It’s unfair not to tax it. I can’t believe we missed this before."
Kevin McArdle has covered the State House for New Jersey 101.5 news since 2002. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter at @kevinmcardle1.