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A new poll commissioned by OK Policy shows that a strong majority of Oklahomans oppose a plan to cut the state’s top personal income tax rate when they are informed how it would affect taxpayers. A majority of voters was also against cutting funding to education, public safety, and health care in order to pass on the savings as a tax cut.
The national polling firm Global Strategy Group interviewed 601 registered voters in Oklahoma from April 25 to 28, after a leadership deal for a personal income tax cut had been announced. The survey’s margin of error was +/- 4.0 percent. The complete poll results are available here.
While a bare majority of voters say they support an income tax cut in theory (52 percent support and 25 percent oppose the proposal to cut the top personal income tax rate), support plummets when voters hear specifics about the plan. After being informed that the tax cut would reduce revenues for state services by $125 million, just 34 percent supported the plan with 56 percent opposed (including 44 percent strongly opposed).
Voters believe especially strongly that funding for education, public safety, and public health should not be cut in order to reduce taxes. A huge majority (77 percent) disagreed with the statement that they “would favor cutting funding for Oklahoma’s public health services, including Soonercare, mental health services, and care for children with developmental disabilities so that savings can be passed along to taxpayers in the form of a tax cut.”
Similarly, 77 percent disagreed with “cutting funding for Oklahoma’s public schools so that the savings can be passed along to taxpayers in the form of a tax cut,” while 80 percent disagreed with “cutting funding for Oklahoma’s public safety services, including police, fire and emergency services so that savings can be passed along to taxpayers in the form of a tax cut.”
A strong majority also opposed the tax cut after learning that over 40 percent of Oklahomans would not receive any tax cut at all under the bill, the average reduction for middle-income families would be less than 50 dollars, and the largest tax cuts would go to the wealthiest five percent of Oklahoma households. After hearing these facts, just 31 percent supported the tax cut, with 60 percent opposed. Almost half (47 percent) of Oklahoma voters were strongly opposed after learning that the proposal provides little tax relief for low and middle-income families.
The poll also showed that voters do not believe that more income tax cuts are the best way to improve our state’s economy. When asked what they believed was more important to attract businesses to locate and invest in Oklahoma, just 24 percent of voters chose “low personal income tax rates,” while 68 percent chose “an educated and well trained workforce.”
Of those surveyed, 52 percent identified themselves as conservative, while 16 percent identified as liberal. The survey included slightly more Republicans than Democrats, with 46 percent identifying as a Republican or Republican-leaning independent, compared to 40 percent who identified themselves as a Democrat or Democratic-leaning independent.