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Survey: Most respondents favor sales-tax renewal to fund WRTA

Published: Mon, August 13, 2012 @ 12:02 a.m.

By Ashley Luthern



A majority of people surveyed by a marketing firm say they support the renewal of a 0.25-percent sales tax that funds Western Reserve Transit Authority.

WRTA hired Burges & Burges Strategists, a Euclid-based marketing company, about two months ago for a four-month contract costing $22,500, said Marianne Vaughn, WRTA director of finance.

The firm administered the surveys at a cost of $3,300, Vaughn said.

“We needed to see where we made strides and where we had fallen down,” said Jim Ferraro, WRTA executive director.

The online survey drew 312 responses, and 62.5 percent said they would support the sales-tax renewal on the fall ballot, according to records.

Of people from Youngs-town who took the survey, about 73 percent said they support the renewal. The two highest-represented suburbs in the survey were Boardman and Austintown, and the percentages of people favoring renewal were about 60 percent and 56 percent, respectively.

Burges reported that a minority of people shared negative feelings about WRTA, mainly that WRTA primarily serves the inner city and that buses look underutilized and empty.

A telephone poll conducted by AMM Political Strategies, which was hired by Burges, surveyed 600 people July 13-14. Respondents started at 54.5 percent for the issue, 12.3 percent against and 33.2 percent undecided.

Then, respondents were given seven statements and asked if those statements were a “very good reason” or “not a good reason” to support the sales-tax renewal.

For example, two of the statements were, “The issue would maintain current services for seniors, people with disabilities and workers who need to get to work, appointments and shopping” and “this ballot issue is a renewal and will not raise taxes.” After both statements, 82.3 percent of respondents said they were a very good reason to support the renewal.

After going through all seven statements, respondents were then asked how they will vote, with 79.8 percent for the renewal, 10.8 percent against and 9.3 percent undecided.

Ferraro said the sales-tax renewal is vital to WRTA and makes up 70 percent of the budget, with the remaining being funded by fare-box revenues and federal grants.

WRTA sales-tax revenue has grown since 2009, when it collected about $4.2 million, to $6.9 million in 2010 and $7.5 million in 2011.

Revenue for the first five months of this year, $3.2 million, surpasses that period from 2011. The transit authority’s 2012 budget is about $10.7 million, Vaughn has said.


1southsidedave(5126 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

A survey of 600 people is too small of a sample to use for accurate probability testing

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2buster62(24 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Renew the WRTA tax. Why?

The people who the survey company probably asked, never rode a bus. Try it. Plastic seats, diesel smoke, people on cell phones, people eating.
I wish WRTA would outlaw Cell Phones on busses.

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3NoBS(2312 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Thinker - the tax was put on the ballot one year before it expires because they're counting on all the entitlement crowd to come out and support it again when they support Obama again.

And it is very wasteful to send empty buses around the suburbs. Suburban life is not set up for mass transit - nobody there wants to walk blocks and blocks to a bus stop, stand around in the rain or snow for a half hour waiting for a bus, walk to their destination at the other end of the ride, then repeat it all to come home. That's before having to lug any purchases around. That's simply not how things work in the suburbs. And doing things that way would not be an improvement.

I'm voting NO.

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4bone303(3 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

The people who are in favor of this sales tax renewal must be people who do not own any property and are renters. What a waste of property owners money to run empty buses around the suburbs. I'm voting NO

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5walter_sobchak(2306 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Excellent comment except for the fact that this is a sales tax, not a property tax. The WRTA is a valuable service for many in the county at a minimal cost to me. It is 25 cents on $100 of taxable goods and everyone pays it.

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6redeye1(5260 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Plain and simple Just vote NO!!!!!!

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7Silence_Dogood(1527 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

" 25 cents on $100 of taxable goods"

Chump change, help out the poor, elderly,and those without the ability or means to drive .

Vote yes.

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8walter_sobchak(2306 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Agreed. I was at the Wal-mart in Liberty last week. As the WRTA bus pulled up, I watched a disabled man with hand crutches quickly scurry outside to get on. That sight alone will cause me to vote for the levy. I then drove past the National College site and there were a half-dozen students waiting for the bus in the cemetary grass. We bitch and moan about people not trying to make something for themselves and then, when we can do a very small part in raising the quality of life, we complain. This is a county tax and the dollars stay local and can be used for matching federal dollars. C'mon, man!

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