A new poll shows that 60 percent of Oklahoma voters support delaying or canceling the income tax cut scheduled for 2016, and only 33 percent still want the tax cut to go forward while the state has a large budget shortfall.
Before hearing any other information about the tax cut, 62 percent of Oklahoma voters said Oklahoma has cut the state income tax too much or the right amount, compared to just 27 percent who said it has not been cut enough. At the same time, a very large majority (74%) said they think Oklahoma is not spending enough on education funding.
The poll of 500 Oklahoma registered voters was commissioned by Oklahoma Policy Institute and conducted by nationally-respected opinion research firm Global Strategy Group. The full poll results and a memo from Global Strategy Group are available here.
“The poll shows that the conversation at the Capitol has become far removed from what Oklahoma voters want,” said OK Policy’s Executive Director David Blatt. “By moving forward with an unpopular tax cut and talking about more cuts to education, our legislators are ignoring the citizens they are supposed to represent.”
Large majorities of Democrats (70%) and Independents (68%) and a plurality of Republicans (47%) opposed allowing the tax cut to go forward amid a budget shortfall. Opposition grows even larger (29% support/64% oppose overall) when voters learn that “over 40 percent of Oklahomans will not receive a tax cut at all, the average reduction for middle-income families will be $31, and the largest tax cuts will go to the wealthiest Oklahoma households.”
On a survey question that has been asked for the past four years, belief that “low personal income tax rates” are most important to attract businesses to Oklahoma has dropped to a new low of 20 percent, compared to 68 percent who say “an educated and well trained workforce” is most important.
Majorities also supported several other proposals for closing Oklahoma’s budget shortfall this year. Among budget options presented in the survey, the strongest support (63% support / 29% oppose) was for accepting federal funds to expand health coverage for low-income adults, which has been estimated to save the state $450 million over the next 10 years. Adopting combined corporate reporting to prevent multi-state corporations from shifting profits out-of-state for tax purposes also received majority support, with the largest support for this idea coming from Republicans and conservatives. A plurality favored ending the double deduction tax break that lets Oklahomans who claim itemized deductions to deduct their state income taxes paid from their state income taxes.
“The takeaway is that Oklahoma lawmakers have popular, sensible options to close the budget shortfall while avoiding damaging cuts to services,” said Blatt. “I hope more Oklahomans will speak out to end this disconnect between what the people want and what the Legislature is doing.”
Global Strategy Group is an American public affairs and research firm with clients that include Fortune 100 companies and national political leaders, associations and nonprofits. The survey was conducted on March 26-29, 2015 with 500 registered voters in Oklahoma. The results have a margin of error of +/-4.4%, and care has been taken to ensure the geographic and demographic divisions of the expected electorate are properly represented based on past voter turnout statistics.