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Prop tax poll says voters want cuts, not taxes

Florida legislators haven't taken the proposal to replace local property taxes with sales tax to the ballot yet but a new poll says an overwhelming majority think its "bad idea."

A poll released today by the research arm of Quinnipiac Univerisity in Connecticut found that voters found that voters prefer deep cuts in government to relieve their tax burden to a major structural change in the state's tax system.

  House Republicans have advanced a controversial plan to pay for massive property tax cuts by swapping property taxes with sales taxes, and have also suggested scaling local government spending to 2001 levels -- resulting in billions of cuts to city and county budgets.

   Voters like the budget cut idea 69-23 percent and opposed 48-44 percent eliminating the property tax on primary homes and replacing it with a 2.5 cent increase in the sales tax.

   The divide was also narrow on the question of whether voters were willing to accept lower government services in exchange for those cuts. There, 49-40 percent of homeowners were willing to accept cuts. Renters said they did not support cuts in services by 44-40 percent.

For example, voters support by a 69-23 percent the notion of scaling back local government taxes to 2001 levels -- a multi-billion dollar hit to city and county budgets.

   But the split was much narrower on the question of whether voters were willing to accept lower government services in exchange for those cuts: 49-40 percent of homeowners were willing to accept cuts but renters said they did not support cuts in services by 44-40 percent.

   Also popular: a constitutional amendment that would allow homeowners to take their "Save Our Homes'' cap on tax assessments with them when they move; voters support such a "portability'' concept by 62-28 percent.

   Less popular: a plan to repeal the "Save Our Homes'' cap which gives long-time homeowners a 3 percent cap on the increase of their annual tax assessment. Voter supported that idea 46-44 percent, but it is was within the 3 point margin of error.

   The poll, conducted March 21-27 of 1,061 Florida voters, had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Read it here: Download 032907_fla_gov_bp.doc

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