University of Illinois at Chicago
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Public Opinion and Political Viability of Budget Tools

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posted on 2021-07-29, 20:38 authored by Brian J. Gaines
What are the political prospects of various plans to boost revenue or reduce spending? One way to answer is via opinion polls. Few say they support broad tax increases or spending cuts on education or Medicaid. Targeted taxes on the wealthy and reductions in benefits to state employees, by contrast, generate positive reactions. However, caution is always in order with polls. Some opinions seem open to change. For instance, support for raising taxes on the rich falls when people are told what rates they currently pay, on average. Support for cutting spending on schools can rise when people are informed of present spending levels. Unfamiliar proposals often generate negative reactions or partisan reactions if they are perceived as coming from only one party. Generally, the public understands that Illinois is in bad shape, but many skeptical about solutions and tired of hearing endless discussion of “crises.”


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