Washington Voters – No Appetite for New Taxes, Spending


May 16, 2013

Washington voters are in no mood for raising taxes, and at the same time they want their state government to hold the line on spending.  In fact, when it comes to addressing Washington State’s budget challenges, voters prefer reducing spending instead of raising taxes, by significant margins.  These are some of the key findings in the latest Moore Information survey of 400 voters in the Evergreen State.

The statewide survey, conducted April 21-22, 2013, finds the majority of Washington voters (61% total, 49% “strongly”) would prefer to “reduce spending, even if some crucial programs are cut” rather than “increase taxes, even if it is hard for middle-class families” (26%).

Balancing the State Budget
“What do you think is the most important thing that should be done to
balance the state budget:

Reduce spending even if some crucial programs are cut,

OR

Increase taxes, even if it is hard for middle-class families?”


Fully 76% of Republicans and 69% of Independents/others agree that spending should be cut even if it means losing crucial programs.  At the same time, nearly half (49%) of Democrats would prefer to increase taxes, even if it’s tough on the middle class.  Regionally, majorities of voters outside of the City of Seattle prefer to reduce spending, but a plurality of Seattle voters (43%) would increase taxes.

When asked to choose between two options for addressing Washington State’s budget challenges, voters prefer holding the line on taxes and spending and increasing education funding over increasing funding for most state services and education.

Solving State Budget Challenges
“Here are two potential options for solving the state’s budget challenges. Please listen carefully and then tell me which option you prefer.

Option A:  Make permanent the 2010 temporary Business and Occupation and beer taxes, and close existing tax loopholes in order to increase funding for most state services and increase education funding by $1.3 billion.

Option B:  Balance the budget with no new taxes while maintaining current funding levels for most state services and increase education funding by $1 billion.”


Majorities of Seattle voters and Democrats prefer Option A, but majorities of voters elsewhere in the state and Republicans and Independents/others prefer Option B.

Additionally, when asked about potential policy positions a legislator may take, nearly nine-in-ten voters (89% agree) support the idea of “cutting wasteful government spending and moving toward a more lean and efficient state government.”  Similarly, more than seven-in-ten agree “…now is the wrong time to raise taxes on working families and struggling businesses” (71% agree).

While Washington voters may have mixed feelings about the general direction the state is heading, with 40% saying it’s heading in the right direction and 45% saying it’s off on the wrong track, one thing seems to be clear: voters don’t have much of an appetite for increasing taxes and spending.


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