Plain talk works.
Washington state officials are making a real effort to talk to the
public in simple, clear language. Two years ago Governor Chris Gregoire
ordered all state agencies to adopt "plain talk" principles.
More than 2,000 state employees have attended classes on writing
letters, announcements and documents in everyday language. Out are words
such as abeyance, cease and utilize. In are words such as suspension,
stop and use. When people understand what the government asks of them,
there's a better chance they'll comply, officials have found.
By rewriting one letter in clearer language, the Department of Revenue
tripled the number of businesses paying the "use tax," which
resulted in an extra $800,000 collected over two years. And across the
country, the new governor of Florida, Charlie Crist, has recently signed
an executive order giving state agencies until April 3 to adopt
"plain language plans."