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November 28, 2011 at 10:49 AM

New poll finds support for state sales tax increase

A new Elway Research poll found that 64 percent of the voters surveyed indicated they were likely to support a temporary bump in the state sales tax to avoid cuts to certain state services.

The poll found that 43 percent were “certainly willing” and 21 percent were “probably willing” to support Gov. Chris Gregoire’s proposed half-cent increase in the state sales tax to avoid certain cuts to education and social services.

The statewide poll interviewed 408 voters on Nov. 21-22. The margin of error is plus or minus 5 percentage points.

Here’s one of the questions pollster Stuart Elway asked:

The governor has proposed budget cuts that total about $2 billion. The following are cuts in the state budget that the governor has proposed. If the choice is to make that cut or raise taxes to keep that program, which would you choose?

  • Eliminate the Basic Health Program, which subsidizes health care coverage for low-income working families and children. (65 percent supported increasing taxes and 27 percent supported making the cut.)
  • Cut school levy equalization in half, which provides money to smaller, poorer school districts. (62 percent supported a tax increase while 30 percent supported a cut.)
  • Cut medical services in the Disability Lifeline program, which serves low-income adults. (62 percent supported a tax increase and 28 percent supported a cut.)
  • Reduce support to colleges and universities by 15%. (49 percent supported a tax increase while 45 percent supported a cut.)
  • Cut four days out of the school year public schools. (43 percent supported a tax increase while 49 percent supported a cut.)
  • Early release from prison for some non-violent offenders, and shorter supervised parole for all parolees. (39 percent supported a tax increase while 51 percent supported a cut.)

Elway also noted his polls show diminished support for an all-cuts budget. At the start of the legislative session in 2010, 56 percent favored an “emphasis” on budget cuts to deal with a shortfall, while 26 percent favored increasing taxes. Today, 41 percent favor a emphasis on budget cuts, while 39 percent favor increasing taxes to avoid additional cuts.

“The active word is emphasize cuts or taxes,” Elway wrote in a report. “Majorities have always believed that both taxes and cuts would be required.”

Comments | More in Government | Topics: budget cuts, Gov. Chris Gregoire, poll

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