dollars. Tennessee Tax Revolt discovered a document titled "Education program for the sales tax referendum" that lays out a strategic plan for convincing McMinnville voters to support a referendum to raise the local sales tax rate. The document contains step by step instructions for a successful tax hike campaign that include; identifying opponents, motivating suppor- ters to get out the vote, using comparisons to make the increase appear minimal, using scare tactics in the form of state mandates, property tax increases as the only viable alternative, the clandestine formation of a pro tax group, and even pre-designed scripts for radio ads.
MTAS, a state funded agency at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, has the document, which is authored by Don Darden, posted on it's website under the obscure address of:
The idea of an experimental pro tax initiative in McMinnville may be to supply a precedent for other towns and cities to follow suit under the advice of the same taxpayer funded agency that promoted the original concept. Agencies such as the Tennessee Municipal League, MTAS and the county equivalent, CTAS have long been involved in the promotion of higher and additional forms of taxation but this bold new initiative places them in the forefront of initiating self perpetuating government.
At present, Bradley County and Cleveland governments use local tax dollars in the form of fees to help additionally fund these agencies and Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland is active in the TML, who have in the past been instigational in pushing unpopular local issues.
The MTAS website document mirrors an already successful strategy used to convince voters to accept otherwise unpopular social changes, including increased funding, but to use it openly for increased taxation appears a new trend. The role of these state funded agencies appear to be a transformation from advice on how best to operate government, to advice on how best to fund it. Without watchdog groups like Tennessee Tax Revolt, many of Tennessee's local elected officials would be unaware of the changing trend and would assume the strategies were citizen based when they were advised to use them.