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More Louisianans favor tweaks to income tax rates over sales tax changes to address ‘fiscal cliff,’ survey shows

When it comes to addressing the state’s $700 million “fiscal cliff,” a bipartisan majority of Louisiana residents—56%—support lowering state income tax in exchange for eliminating some deductions.

That’s according to the second of six installments of the annual Louisiana Survey by the Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs, released this morning. The results show the income tax proposal is more popular than those that would reduce the state sales tax rate in exchange for it applying to more purchases, or would renew the temporary sales tax increase enacted in 2016.  

The results “indicate that Louisianans recognize the seriousness of the state’s budget challenges and are willing to consider an array of policy options to deal with it,” says Michael Henderson, director of the Public Policy Research Lab, which conducted the survey.

Additional results of the second installment of the survey include:

  • Two proposals for addressing the fiscal cliff received more support than opposition: Continuing the reductions to business tax exemptions (53% support, 38% oppose) and addressing it with only spending cuts (52% support, 37% oppose).
  • The public is split over a proposal to rewrite the state’s constitution, with 46% supporting and 44% opposing. However, even among supporters of a convention to rewrite the constitution, most prefer to keep current protections for spending.
  • There has been a sharp increase in the share of Louisiana residents who say the state sales tax and state income tax rates are too high, yet most residents prefer to raise taxes to pay for elementary and secondary education, higher education and transportation than to cut spending for these areas.
  • Only 27% know that Louisiana’s income taxes on individuals and households are lower than in most other states.
  • Most state residents believe spending can be cut without reducing services, including 83% of Republicans and 52% of Democrats.

The Louisiana Survey has been conducted each year since 2003 to establish benchmarks as well as to capture change in residents’ assessments of state government services. This year’s survey included 852 state residents and was conducted via telephone between Jan. 26 and March 3. It has a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.

See the full results of the second installment of this year’s survey. The first installment, released last week, showed a growing share of Louisianans are pessimistic about the direction the state is headed, and a large majority of respondents believe the state is more politically divided than in the past.

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