Poll: Californians want balance of tax increases and spending cuts

SAN FRANCISCO
February 28, 2012 9:09am
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•  Seven out of ten say budget cuts so far have impacted them

•  ‘Californians feel a sense of urgency about the budget shortfall’


A majority of California voters (52 percent) back an equal mix of spending cuts and tax increases in order to balance the state’s budget shortfall, which stands at more than $9 billion, according to a recent survey paid for by the nonpartisan organization Next 10 and conducted by the Field Research Corporation.

The poll also found that a majority of those surveyed (71 percent) say that the cumulative budget cuts made in Sacramento since 2009 directly impact their families.

“Californians know that budget decisions can have a profound impact on their everyday lives, but many lack the time and resources to track or influence the debate,” says Noel Perry, founder of Next 10.

“It is clear that Californians feel a sense of urgency about the budget shortfall, otherwise we would not expect to see the level of support for tax increases that we are recording in this poll,” says Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo. “Voters also expressed support for spending cuts in general — but not to education, the state’s largest budgetary expenditure.”

Recognizing that the state’s budget deficit for next year tops out at more than $9 billion:

• 41 percent of those polled favor keeping per-student spending at current levels.

• 30 percent favor increasing spending on education by $2.5 billion.

• 17 percent favor cutting education spending by $2.4 billion, even if it means cutting the length of the school year.

Voters also support plans for increasing taxes on higher income earners to address the budget shortfall:

• 40 percent favor increasing income tax rates by 3 percent on individuals making over $1 million a year, and upping taxes 5 percent for individuals earning over $2 million a year.

• 25 percent support increasing income tax rates by one-half of 1 percent on individuals making $250,000 or more.

• 20 percent favor keeping income tax rates stable.

• 9 percent want to see a quarter of a percentage point increase in income taxes for all earners.

More than half (55 percent) of voters selected to increase the sales tax in some fashion versus 39 percent who wanted to leave as is.

Thirty 30 percent support extending the sales tax to some services that are not currently taxed.

Methodology notes

The findings are based on a telephone survey of California registered voters by Field Research Corporation and paid for by Next 10. The survey included a random sample of 1,003 registered voters in California, and was completed in English and Spanish from Feb. 2-18. Results have a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.


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