Mainers disagree with focus on tax cuts for wealthy, would blame GOP for shutdown

Mainers disagree with focus on tax cuts for wealthy, would blame GOP for shutdown

Mainers rank a tax cut for the wealthy proposed by Governor Paul LePage and Republican legislative leaders as their lowest priority for the state budget and say they would largely blame the GOP if the state government shuts down due to a budget impasse, according to a new poll.

When asked to choose from among eight potential top spending priorities for the state budget, education was the clear winner, with the support of 28.1% of voters. Property tax reduction and health care funding were on a second tier with 18.9% and 17.7% support respectively. They were followed by programs to support seniors (10.7%), decrease sales taxes (6.6%), reduce student debt (5.9%) and address the opioid crisis (5.6%).

Only 4.8% of respondents said their top priority was reducing income taxes for Mainers making more than $200,000 a year, which has been identified as a pre-condition of budget negotiations by Republican legislative leaders.

Even among Mainers making more than $100,000 in household income, only 6% said a tax break for the wealthy was their top priority.

The survey of 646 Maine voters who cast ballots in the November, 2016 election was conducted by phone and online from May 4th through 6th by the Maine People’s Resource Center and has a sample margin of error of ±3.9%, 95 times out of 100.

Asked, if an agreement on the budget were not reached, whether they would they be more likely to hold Democrats in the legislature or Governor LePage and Republicans responsible for a government shutdown, 47.9% of respondents said Republicans, 29.7% said Democrats and 22.4% were still undecided.

The more closely respondents had been following the budget debate in Augusta, the more likely respondents were to be prepared to blame Republicans, with those who reported hearing “some” or “a lot” about the budget debate believing Republicans would be responsible for a shutdown by a more than twenty-point margin.

The full survey is available here.

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