A new poll shows that over the last year, support for cutting Oklahoma’s personal income tax has dropped significantly among voters statewide, and less than half now support the plan to reduce the state’s top rate. Support drops even further when voters learn of the disparity in the size of the cuts across income groups. Very large majorities oppose cutting funding for state services such as education, public safety, and health care to pay for tax cuts.
The results are similar to polls done in 2012 and 2013, and they show a growing disconnect between elected officials and Oklahoma voters on this issue. The more voters learn about the tax cut proposals, the less popular they become.
Less than half of all voters now support the proposal to reduce Oklahoma’s top personal income tax rate (46% support/31% oppose). This 15 point margin in favor of the plan is dramatically smaller than the net 27 point margin in an April 2013 survey (52% support/25% oppose).
Opposition to the plan doubles once voters learn that over 40 percent of Oklahomans will not receive a tax cut at all, the average reduction for middle-income families would be 29 dollars, and the largest tax cuts would go to the wealthiest one percent of Oklahoma households. Just 29% still support the plan when they learn how it would affect Oklahomans at different income levels, with 61% opposed.
Voters are most opposed to the tax cut plan when they learn Oklahoma will collect 120 million dollars less in tax revenues to fund state services, such as education, public safety and health care. After learning about the revenue losses, 66% of all voters oppose the plan, with just 29% continuing to support it. Majorities of Democrats (78%), Independents (72%), and Republicans (54%) said they are opposed after hearing this information. Even majorities of self-described conservatives (53%) and conservative Democrats (67%) opposed the plan.
Surveyed voters said they believe education and job training trump income tax cuts as drivers of the economy. When asked which was more important to create economic growth in Oklahoma, 74% of voters favored education and job training, with just 17% favoring lower income tax rates. Public opinion matches the views of most Oklahoma economists and business leaders, who say that if we’re looking to grow the economy for everyone, restoring funding for education and other core services is a much better investment than tax cuts.
The poll was conducted by Global Strategy Group, a leading national public opinion firm whose clients include elected officials across all levels of government, major non-profit institutions, and Fortune 500 companies. They surveyed 610 registered voters in Oklahoma between March 3-6. The margin of error in the poll is +/- 4.0%. Additional poll results are available at http://bit.ly/okpoll2014.