Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Survey

58 Percent of Californians Oppose Eliminating the State Income Tax, 36 Percent Favor


Somehow Nevada, Texas, and Florida get by without collecting state income taxes. However, Californians are not ready to follow suit with the state's nearly $16 billion shortfall. According to the latest Reason-Rupe poll, 58 percent of Californians oppose eliminating the state income tax, 36 percent favor doing so.

Only a few groups reach the majority threshold supporting the elimination of the state income tax, including Republicans (61 percent), households making between $75,000-$90,000 (54 percent), and small business owners (52 percent).

Instead, Californians are considering further state tax increases with Prop 30, currently  too close to call, but slightly in the lead, and Prop 38, currently trailing. However, if those tax increases fail to close the deficit, three quarters of Californians say spending cuts must be next.

Sixty-two percent of Californians favor cutting down the size of the state government workforce to help balance the budget. They also favor  (77 percent) asking public employees to contribute more toward their pensions and health care benefits. Moreover, 56 percent favor rolling state spending per capita back to their 2000 levels, adjusted for inflation.

Californians are also open to privatizing some state government functions to help deal with the budget deficit. For instance, 59 percent favor allowing private companies to operate state parks. At the local level, 63 percent favor selling government assets like golf courses, convention centers, and parking lots to private companies, and 60 percent favor outsourcing services like trash collection and road maintenance to private companies.

Californians don't want to lower taxes but are hesitant to raise them as well. Although Californians are concerned about spending cuts that could harm education, they are open to reforming the public sector work force, and outsourcing some government services to private companies to balance the budget.

California telephone poll conducted October 11th-15th on both landline and cell phones, 696 adults, margin of error +/- 3.8%. The sample also includes 508 likely voters, with a margin of error of +/- 5.1%. Columns may not add up to 100% due to rounding. Full methodology can be found here. Full poll results found here.