Thursday, January 29, 2009

Californians Back Higher Taxes, Spending Cap

A new poll by the Public Policy Institute of California found that most Californians are ready to take drastic measures to ensure their State’s financial stability. A snippet of the article accompanying the poll can be found below, but you can read the full study at the SF Chronicle website.

Battered and worried by the onslaught of dire economic news, Californians are much more willing than their legislators to take drastic moves to stop the state's financial tumble, according to a new poll by the Public Policy Institute of California.

Solid majorities of the state's voters - Democrats, Republicans and independents alike - favor tax increases and spending caps that have left the Legislature gridlocked in its effort to close California's $42 billion budget gap over the next 18 months.

"Voters are scared and willing to be more flexible," said Mark Baldassare, head of the institute. "Some of the concerns break along party lines, but there's a surprising level of support for (budget) plans that share the pain."

Concern over the economic slide has skyrocketed in recent months, with 59 percent of Californians convinced the state is in a serious recession, up from 39 percent last October. Only 18 percent, a record low for the survey, think the state is heading in the right direction, while more than three-quarters are convinced tough economic times lie ahead in the next year.

"The worries are across the parties and across the regions," Baldassare said. "In California, no group is immune to the downturn and the worry that it could affect them next."

Two-thirds of Californians now name either jobs and the economy or the state budget as the most important issue for the governor and the Legislature, dwarfing schools (12 percent) and immigration (4 percent). But only 39 percent of California adults - and 35 percent of likely voters - are convinced Schwarzenegger and the legislators will be able to work together to accomplish a lot this year.

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