A Survey of RI Voter Opinions on Taxes and Spending

RIPEC commissioned Opinion Dynamics Corporation of Cambridge, Massachusetts to conduct a poll in order to gauge public opinion about tax and spending issues in the Ocean State.  This report summarizes the main findings of a statewide telephone survey of 400 Rhode Island voters.  Interviews were conducted during the evening and weekend hours of January 5 – 8, 2006.

The study yielded the following findings:

  • Voters overwhelmingly think Rhode Island taxes are higher than in other states, and they do not think the state government is effectively fulfilling many of its core responsibilities – especially responsibilities related to keeping taxes low and spending taxpayer money wisely.  
  • A majority (58%) of voters believe that the current levels of taxes and government spending in the state discourage business from moving to Rhode Island.
  • Maintaining public safety is the only area tested in which the government receives a positive job rating.
  • Support for the constitutional amendment is high across all demographic subgroups of voters, including: Democrats (74%)and Republicans (71%); voters under age 45 (72%) and older voters (71%); voters from households earning less than $50,000 (75%) and those with household earning over $100,000 (68%).
  • Voters are equally likely to say things in Rhode Island are pretty seriously off on the wrong track (41%), as they are to say things are generally headed in the right direction (41%).
  • Three-quarters (75%) of voters say the state and local taxes they pay are too high, 22% say they are about right, and 1% say they are too low.
  • A majority (58%) of voters think that state taxes and government spending in Rhode Island discourage businesses from moving to, or expanding in Rhode Island.
  • If one tax was going to be permanently reduced, 58% would choose the property tax, 20% would choose the sales tax, and 19% would choose the income tax.    

Believing that the cost of government should not grow faster than the ability of the community to pay for it, RIPEC is part of the Affordable Rhode Island Coalition.  The Coalition is promoting a Constitutional Amendment to enhance fiscal discipline and promote affordable government. 

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