Statewide Poll Finds Support for Mixed Approach to State Budget

(Note: Below is a guest post from the PA Budget and Policy Center, which released the findings of a poll today. -BW)

Throughout last year’s prolonged state budget debate, and again this year, many lawmakers have argued that the best way to close the budget shortfall is to make cuts.

But by a two-to-one margin, Pennsylvania voters favor a more comprehensive approach that includes savings and new revenue to balance the state budget, according to a poll released today by the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center.

“The public expects government to tighten its belt, but will accept new revenue measures to avoid deep cuts in education, health care and other public services,” said Sharon Ward, Director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center. “The voters want a balanced approach to balancing the budget.”

There is overwhelming support for closing corporate tax loopholes (81%) and levying a tax on cigars and smokeless tobacco (68%). Voters also favored ending a special interest tax break on natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale.

While there was little support for an across-the-board increase in the personal income tax rate, voters strongly favored reforming the income tax system so that wealthier families pay a higher rate on their earnings and investment income.

“The public will accept new revenue measures but what they want in exchange is accountability and efficiency,” Ward said. “We don’t think that’s too much to ask.

“This poll provides lawmakers with a roadmap for solving the budget shortfall. It demonstrates that voters want accountability, but they also want tax reform and tax fairness and to avoid deep service cuts.”

The poll was conducted by Tulchin Research. Read more about it by clicking here.

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