VCU’s Wilder School polled Virginians to see which of seven state programs they felt was the most efficient. In addition to public safety, the poll asked about higher education, transportation, K-12 public schools, workforce training, aid to low income families, and mental health services.
Public Safety topped the list at 51% but, Director Dr. Robyn McDougle said, there was an interesting juxtaposition. “We asked where would you like to see your tax dollars utilized and Mental Health Services is number one. Yet, it ranked number seven in where the believe the government is most efficient in using those tax dollars.”
It’s possible, she added, that people see their willingness to pay more taxes as a signal of the moral importance of a program, rather than an evaluation of that program’s efficiency.
“With the work of Sen. Deeds and the Deeds Commission, he has done a very good job of keeping that area in the forefront legislators minds, policy makers minds and, clearly, citizen’s minds,” said McDougle.