President Barack Obama stirred up a minor controversy authorizing a name change for Alaska’s Mt. McKinley back to an older name, Denali.

California has had debates over place names. In the last decade, there was an effort to change the name of Mount Diablo in Contra Costa County that kicked up a fuss locally but ultimately went nowhere.

But in the political world, attempting to change the label on a well-understood government act may well be an effort at subterfuge.

Take the so-called Lifting Children and Families out of Poverty initiative filed this summer. Its funding mechanism is a surcharge on property valued on the property tax rolls at $3 million or more. It is supposed to raise $7 billion in new revenue.

Obviously, a tax increase, right? Yet the measure states that the surcharge “shall not be considered a higher tax.”

Why? It’s not to surreptitiously skirt the state’s spending limit law. The measure goes on to say this new revenue doesn’t count against the limit.

So why not call an obvious tax a tax?

Perhaps, so the attorney general in writing the title and summary for the initiative won’t use the word “tax” – a term that might turn off voters?

You know the old duck test – if it walks and quacks like a duck, etc.

The same inductive reasoning applies here. This proposed surcharge is a tax.