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Originally posted May 11, 2012
Poll: Voters oppose lower tax rate if funding for schools, roads would be cut
BY WAYNE GREENE Tulsa World Senior Writer
(Reprinted with Permission. This is not an endorsement.)
OKLAHOMA CITY - Large majorities of Oklahoma voters oppose state income tax cuts if it means less funding for schools, roads and public safety, a poll released Wednesday by the Oklahoma Advocacy Project shows. Contact your legislator
The poll also shows voter concern that cutting the income tax will lead to higher sales and property taxes to make up for lost revenue.
The telephone poll of 603 registered voters was conducted May 3-6 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. It appears to stand in contrast to an April 3-5 Sooner Survey telephone poll of 500 voters that found that by a better than 2-to-1 margin Oklahomans favor cutting the state income tax to 4.75 percent.
The Oklahoma Legislature is considering several income tax cut proposals, including one from Gov. Mary Fallin to cut the top income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 3.5 percent. While lawmakers and Fallin have said the eventual tax cut will likely be less aggressive than her proposal, there is broad discussion of cutting the top tax rate to 4.95 percent, possibly with revenue-driven triggers to force future cuts until the tax is eliminated.
The plurality of those polled by the Oklahoma Advocacy Project - 42 percent - opposed cutting the state income tax and paying for it by eliminating popular tax credits such as the child tax credit and the sales tax relief credit. The group describes itself as a nonprofit formed to advocate on behalf of working Oklahomans and supporting "reasonable policies that create economic prosperity for all Oklahomans and that protect core government services."
When voters were asked if they favor reducing funding for public schools in order to pass on savings in the form of a tax cut, opposition rose to 81 percent.
Seventy percent agreed with the statement, "phasing out the state income tax will lead to higher property taxes and sales taxes to provide necessary funding for public services like schools, roads and public safety."
When asked if they supported phasing out the state income tax if it meant higher property taxes and sale taxes, 67 percent opposed the income tax phase-out.
"The poll shows that Oklahomans understand there is no free lunch," said Toby Friesen, director of the Oklahoma Advocacy Project. "They recognize that tax cuts will lead to even more challenges for our already over-burdened schools, public safety officers and road networks."
The Sooner Survey poll found that 30 percent of those polled strongly favor cutting the top tax rate to 4.75 percent and 22 percent somewhat favor it. Only 22 percent strongly or somewhat oppose it.
The same poll found that 51 percent favored phasing out the income tax over 10 years and only 30 percent
We hope you will take a moment to learn more about the governor's office and the great state of Oklahoma.
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