Study Finds Majority of Americans Fed-Up with High Taxes and Wasteful State Spending

Study Finds Majority of Americans Fed-Up with High Taxes and Wasteful State Spending

March 02, 2009

For Immediate Release – March 2, 2009
Contact: Mary Ellen Burke, (202) 349-5880

Study Finds Majority of Americans Fed-Up with High Taxes and Wasteful State Spending

- Lower-Income Americans Oppose Tax Hikes, Even if They Don’t Pay –

WASHINGTON─ A new survey by the free-market grassroots group Americans for Prosperity finds that 57 percent of Americans believe their state’s taxes are too high. In addition, 64 percent said that they disapprove of their state legislature’s handling of budget issues. When asked to identify the most important issue in state budgeting, 54 percent identified wasteful spending on programs that do not work.

“Americans have simply had enough,” said Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity. “They’re on the hook for trillions of dollars of debt for bailouts, including bailouts for state governments. All of the massive borrow-and-spend policies that are being enacted will have to be paid back with huge tax increases in the future, and citizens are outraged.”

The survey also finds that lower-income Americans oppose higher taxes, even if they are not forced to pay them. 59.6 percent of respondents earning under $30,000 rejected the idea of raising taxes on others.

These findings come on the heels of large scale citizen opposition to the liberal spending spree in Washington. Over 450,000 Americans signed AFP’s online petition, www.NoStimulus.com, against the Pelosi/Reid/Obama trillion dollar spending package.

Other survey findings include:

* More than half of Americans think their state’s taxes are too high (57 percent) and a nearly equal number (58 percent) think state spending is too high.

* Nearly two-thirds of Americans disapprove of their state legislature’s handling of taxes, spending, and balancing the state budget.

* Almost twice as many say the problem is not that states are spending too much (28 percent), but that they are spending too much on programs that do not work (54 percent). If taxes are raised in their state, 62 percent distrust that elected officials will use the money wisely.

* Eighty-eight percent of Americans said a candidate’s position on taxes influences how they will vote, and 66 percent say they would vote against someone who ran on a platform that they would not raise taxes, and then did so once elected.

The survey was conducted by Voter/Consumer Research, and is based on the responses of 1,009 registered voters in all 50 states, conducted by telephone between Jan. 27th and Feb. 1st of this year. The margin of error is +/- 3.09 percent.

State-specific surveys with similar findings were also conducted in Florida, North Carolina, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Ohio, and Michigan. Highlights include:

* Three quarters of North Carolinians say they have had to cut personal expenditures in the past year, and they would be even worse off financially if their state increased taxes. Spending by the state is perceived as being too high by 62 percent of North Carolinians, and 60 percent of those polled said the state was spending too much on programs that do not work, as compared to 54 percent in the national survey.

* Economically hard-hit Michigan respondents were more critical of the performance of their state legislature overall, as well as the legislature’s handing of taxes, spending and balancing its budget, with disapproval ratings of 57 percent and 73 percent, respectively.

* In Florida, where the poll was co-sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform, more than half of respondents report they are financially “worse off” than a year ago. Forty-three percent of respondents said that they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who pledged in writing that he or she would not increase taxes once elected.

* Kansans particularly opposed additional taxes on lower-income families (91 percent) and reported a greater likelihood of not voting for candidates who had broken previous promises not to raise taxes once in office than the national sample.

* Pennsylvanians felt their state’s taxes were too high (62 percent, versus 57 percent nationally), and two-thirds of Pennsylvania respondents distrusted that elected officials would spend any new revenues raised by the state wisely. The state’s poll was co-sponsored by the state chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

* Attitudes toward taxes in Ohio and Kentucky were generally in line with attitudes nationwide, although a statistically significantly higher number of Ohio’s respondents felt that jobs and economy were the top issues (63 percent, versus 55 percent nationally).

The complete national and state-specific surveys and results can be viewed at:

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a nationwide organization of citizen leaders committed to advancing every individual’s right to economic freedom and opportunity. AFP believes reducing the size and scope of government is the best safeguard to ensuring individual productivity and prosperity for all Americans. AFP educates and engages citizens in support of restraining state and federal government growth, and returning government to its constitutional limits. For more information, visit www.americansforprosperity.org


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