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Poll Shows Voter Conflict in Solving State Budget Woes

Results of Paul Simon Public Policy Institute poll released in advance of governor's address

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Poll Shows Voter Conflict in Solving State Budget Woes

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Results of a poll out this week show Illinois voters are conflicted in how to deal with the state's budget mess.

A majority of respondents said they don't want a temporary income tax hike to become permanent. On the flip side, a majority of respondents said they also don't want to see spending cuts to programs which benefit students, the poor and the disabled.

Results of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute poll, conducted Feb. 12 through Feb. 25, were released Monday, in advance of Gov. Pat Quinn's address this week to outline his ideas for the state's 2015 budget.

Sixty percent of the 1001 registered voting adults polled said they favor letting the 2011 income tax law expire. That law raised the individual income tax on individuals from 3 to 5 percent and and from 4.8 percent to 7 percent for corporations, expire. Without action from lawmakers, the tax rate will incrementally decrease.

Additionally, voters opposed raising sales tax rates or taxing retirement income to fix deficits, the poll found.

"They support gambling," the release said.

In fact, 53 percent of respondents said gambling would be a good source of new venue. Forty-four percent were opposed to the idea and 4 percent said they weren't sure.

But while voters said they don't want their taxes increased, they don't want to see cuts made to vital government programs, either. Just 18 percent favored cuts to K-12 education; 37 percent supported university cuts; 24 percent favored cuts to public safety; 31 percent favored a reduction in spending to natural resources; 26 percent supported cutting benefits to poor people; and just 15 percent supported cuts to the disabled.

"Republicans and conservatives were more likely to favor cuts to university budgets and state pensions than Democrats and Independents were. Independents were more likely to support and less likely to oppose cuts to Public Safety than either Democrats or Republicans," the Southern Illinois University pollsters said.

The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

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