Poll: Most Calif. Adults Would Pay Higher Taxes To Support Safety Net

A majority of adults in California would be willing to support the state's health and human services programs by paying higher taxes, according to a poll by the Public Policy Institute of California, HealthyCal reports (HealthyCal, 1/24).


The poll was based on telephone interviews conducted in January of 2,002 adult Californians, including 894 likely voters (Gardner, U-T San Diego, 1/24).

The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points for all adults and plus or minus 4.2 percentage points for likely voters (Buchanan, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/25).

Key Findings About Health Care

Fifty-seven percent of surveyed adults said they would be willing to pay higher taxes to support safety-net programs, the poll found (HealthyCal, 1/24).

The poll also found that 51% of likely voters said they did not favor cuts to child care, CalWORKs -- the state's welfare-to-work program -- and Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program, as laid out in Gov. Jerry Brown's (D) budget proposal for fiscal year 2012-2013. Forty-four percent of likely voters said they approved of the proposed cuts (Harmon, San Jose Mercury News, 1/24); and

In addition, 17% of adults said that the area of state spending they most want to protect from budget cuts is health and human services, according to the poll (Central Valley Business Times, 1/24).

Support for Brown's Tax Initiative

The poll noted that 68% of likely voters said they support Brown's tax proposal to temporarily increase the state sales tax and income taxes for Californians earning more than $250,000 annually.

Brown has said his tax plan would generate $35 billion over five years, but the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office estimated that it would raise about $28 billion (San Francisco Chronicle, 1/25).

Hrant Kouyoumdjian
Given the limitations of character counts in a comment, I should have also given credit to Mark Baldassare's comment in the HealthyCal link re his survey findings. I quote: 'But Mark Baldasssare, president and CEO of the PPIC, said Brown might still have an uphill battle passing his plan because voters still believe that government can be cut further, and very few support raising the sales tax. “The challenge the governor faces with his tax initiative is that one generally popular tax increase—raising personal income taxes on the wealthy—is paired with one generally unpopular one—raising the state sales tax,” Baldassare said.' The local news media here in Sacramento fell into the same trap of claiming, based on this study, that Californians now support tax increases! Really? It seems most journalists received or chose to use the same skewed political talking points rather than actually reading the questionnaire results with some independent analysis: aka critical thinking!
Hrant Kouyoumdjian
Professionally, it is unfortunate re what has been selected as key findings without proper context to the actual sentiments of the respondents when they were asked more "balanced questions" as in Q10, Q10a, & especially Q15 when respondents' preferred solutions to balancing the budget were: 35% mostly through spending cuts; 13% mostly through tax increases; 40% through mix of spending cuts & tax increases; 6% OK to borrow money & run a budget deficit. This, even when more respondents' identified themselves as Democrats 44%, with 34% very liberal/leaning-liberal (Q42a, Q47). The hypothetical sector specific "what if" stats, in abstract, are NOT representative of the survey without tie-in context to the "budget crisis" which show robust resistance to more spending without cuts elsewhere. Also very peculiarly, the survey did not ask whether respondents paid state/federal taxes in prior years, nor did it breakdown the survey results along those who paid taxes vs those who didn't.
Joseph Aponte
We need both. Pension reform and revenue increase.
Scott Zettlemoyer
Wow - this seems contray to most other polls. The only tax increase most Californians support is for the wealthy. All other tax increases (sales tax, car tax, income tax) are not supported. What Californians almost unanimously support is pension reform.
Robert Forster
Near highest state in taxes pleading for more when we know reform and consolidation and elimination of proven unnecessary public agencies would take up the slack. There is no such thing as a temporary tax and business persons will continue to leave and we will be left with the left leaning hollywood elite who wish to sustain this unsustainable state. Get some facts from a neutral source and plan a course to rebuild Ca. Ultimately debt reaches a crisis level ignored by advisors of the administration. No money, no growth, no jobs, no opportunity for all. Wishing it will go away is not a solution unless intoxicated.

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