Most Californians Prefer Spending Cuts to Tax Increases

March 3, 2010

Most Californians want to cut spending:

Half of California voters prefer closing the state’s projected $20 billion deficit by cutting spending rather than raising taxes, according to a Field Poll released Tuesday.

Nearly 30 percent favor an equal mix of cuts and tax increases, while just 13 percent favor closing the gap solely or mostly through tax hikes.

…The Field Poll surveyed 1,232 registered voters between Jan. 5 and Jan. 17 by telephone in six languages. The survey’s margin of sampling error was 2.9 percentage points.

It might seem obvious that Californians, like anyone, would rather have some bureaucrat take a pay cut rather than have general taxes go up. But California’s government programs have traditionally been popular, so when a valid poll finds that a majority of Californians want the state to cut spending, that’s a sign of the times. It shows that the majority of Californians think they are not getting what they pay for; the price of government is not right (even for those not in the top income bracket).

Of course the people polled might not be thinking welfare programs but pension programs when weighing the benefits of California’s government. And there is no way to guarantee if California cuts spending it will (or can) cut it in the places most people want. Political pressures are complicated.

I wonder if other states, if polled, would have similar results. How many residents think they are getting enough for what they pay for in state taxes?

More on California here.


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