Arizonans oppose GOP state budget plan by wide margin, according to poll
PHOENIX – Arizona voters oppose the state budget proposed by Republican leaders by a double-digit margin, according to new polling.
The $12.8 billion deal under consideration in the Arizona Legislature would notably slash income taxes by 25% over three years, institute a 2.5% flat income tax rate, and shield high earners from directly paying the voter-approved Proposition 208 surcharge to fund schools.
A poll conducted Thursday-Sunday by HighGround Public Affairs found overall opposition to the budget plan at 47.8%, vs. 31.2% support and 21% uncommitted.
“When you realize it’s about a $1.9 billion cut for the state budget, people are less inclined to support the tax cuts,” Paul Bentz, the Phoenix firm’s senior vice president of research and strategy, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Wednesday.
Among Republicans, support for the budget was at 49.1% and opposition at 27.2%. That was pretty much a mirror image of the Democratic numbers of 49.6% against and 11.7% in favor.
The opposition was even stronger for voters classified as independent, 54.8%, or without a designated party, 63.5%. Support was about 19% for both of those groups.
The poll also covered certain key aspects of the budget proposal, all of which had greater opposition than support.
When asked about the provision to offset the voter-approved 3.5% surtax on high wage earners to fund schools, 53.2% of all respondents were against it and 32.3% supported it. The Republican contingent was split on the issue, with 40.8% each way.
Of all the items addressed in the poll, none had stronger opposition than the $285 million reduction in revenue shared with cities and towns as a result of the tax cut. Local governments would have to raise taxes or cut services to make up for the shortfall.
Overall, opposition to the shared revenue reduction was at 62%, vs. 21.5% support. The Republican opposition rate of 48.5% nearly matched the Democrats’ 49.6%.
While the taxes are a significant priority of the budget proposal, they aren’t considered a top concern among Arizona voters, according to the poll.
When asked to name the top issue facing the state today other than COVID-19, only 1.8% of respondents said taxes. Five other issues were mentioned more frequently: immigration/border (32.3%), education (20.8%), long-term water supplies (15.5%), jobs/economy (9.3%) and health care (6.3%).
Immigration was the top issue among Republicans (53.8%) and independents (29%), while education was the highest priority for Democrats (31.4%) and voters without a designated party (25.4%).
Bentz said he was surprised to see immigration taking precedence over education.
“Education is down significantly,” he said. “It’s been the top issue for the past four years or so, and it’s had a pretty precipitous fall-off over the last several months.”