Poll: Majority in Calif. support tax hikes

April 24, 2011 at 12:50 AM

SACRAMENTO, April 24 (UPI) -- A majority of Californians say tax increases should be used to close the state's budget gap, a Los Angeles Times-Dornsife poll indicated.

Only one-quarter of voters, told spending cuts would include school aid, said spending cuts should be the only tool to balance the budget. In November, 44 percent of voters polled wanted spending cuts without tax increases.

The poll was done by the Times and the Dornsife School of Arts, Letters and Science at the University of Southern California.

Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown has been pushing for a referendum vote on tax increases, given Republican state legislators' unwillingness to raise taxes. While 60 percent of those polled say they would support tax hikes in tandem with spending cuts, 53 percent said they want voters to decide the issue, not state lawmakers.

Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC and a former GOP political consultant, said voters appear to be more flexible than the legislature.

"It looks like Jerry Brown has successfully reframed the discussion," he said. "Spending cuts are OK to people in the abstract, but when you get specific they start to get scared."

A Democratic polling company, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, and American Viewpoint, a Republican firm, surveyed 1,503 registered voters between April 7 and 17. The margin of error is 2.53 percentage points.

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