Poll: Slim Majority Supports Tax Hike for Education

Poll: Slim Majority Supports Tax Hike for Education

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Political Specialist Richard Piatt reporting Utah's dire financial situation has state lawmakers talking about tax increases for the first time in years.

The question is: Is there a tax or fee Utahns support right now? A new KSL-TV/Deseret News poll shows residents say 'yes' in some aspects.

Utah has the ninth-highest tax burden in the nation. At the same time, the state's schools get the least per-student funding in the nation.

Is it time for a tax increase anyway to help education out? Political pollster Dan Jones asked that question to 413 Utahns in an exclusive poll for KSL and the Deseret News.

The results show 53 percent either strongly or somewhat favor a sales, income or property tax, if the revenue goes to education. And 43 percent somewhat or strongly oppose such a tax increase.

Results of the poll indicate most people will support higher taxes if they feel the money will be used for something worthwhile, like education.

In general, though, new fees, taxes, surcharges - whatever you want to call them are extremely unpopular.

Take a proposal to raise the tax on gasoline, currently at 24 cents a gallon.

Our poll shows strong opposition to increasing the tax on gasoline -- 74 percent oppose it; 52 percent indicate they 'strongly oppose' the idea.

There is opposition to an increase in vehicle registration fees right now, even though many states have higher fees and Utah's hasn't gone up for a few years. Results show 64 percent oppose that idea.

In the middle of a drought, the idea of encouraging conservation through a new surcharge on drinking water is unpopular as well. Sixty-one percent say they strongly or somewhat oppose a new tax on water.

Opinion seems to be divided when in comes to increasing fees at state parks and recreation areas. Just under half favor the idea of an increase in the 'user fees' at such facilities.

Only one tax increase seems to strike a chord in Utah: an increase in wholesale beer tax. Sixty-four percent say they favor such a hike in taxes -- a clear majority.

The result seems to indicate that 'sin taxes' are the only kind they'd be willing to swallow if they had their choice.

The Legislature will likely address many of these questions in its regular session, which begins a week from tomorrow.

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