Thursday, January 14, 2010

Kellogg Foundation: Michigan Residents OK With Tax Increases

Time for everyone to stop being afraid of the "t" word. Results of a study from the Kellogg Foundation are practically the same as those EPIC polls from last fall that show the majority of folks in this state are OK with tax increases when it comes to funding quality of life issues. And when you inform people of the pros and cons of the argument - support increases substantially. Two groups of residents were tested; 300 with a conventional survey, 314 in a "deliberative poll", brought together for a weekend to learn and talk about the issues.

The deliberative poll, he said, is an effort to use social science to reveal what people think when they're informed and engaged. Participants broke into discussion groups to delve into the issues, and they were given pro and con arguments to consider.

"All points of view, all walks of life deliberated about issues in small group discussions that were moderated. They really came to a considered judgment," Fishkin said.

The polling found:

• Support for increasing the sales tax increased from 37 percent to 51 percent and was opposed by 9 percent after deliberations.

• Support for boosting the income tax went up from 27 percent to 45 percent, and opposed by 20 percent.

• Support for cutting business taxes increased from 40 percent to 67 percent.

• Backing for increasing the beer and wine tax was high before and after discussion, from 66 percent to 68 percent.

"The public is willing to sacrifice, willing to invest, willing to pay the cost. However they demand transparency, accountability and different results," said Anne Mosle, vice president of the Kellogg Foundation.

No more excuses, lawmakers. Massive cuts to education, public safety and health care are not going to fly again this year, so better get ready to vote for the "Grand Bargain" - and it better be a fair bargain at that. Both sides need to be willing to give, or we will fall right back into partisan gridlock. And if that happens, well, if you think the public is grumpy now, just wait until they have to pull the lever for you in November...