As Washington lawmakers debate how to fund the state for the next two years, an Elway Poll released Monday reveals voters are just as divided.
Participants had the choice of two approaches to boost education spending: Don’t raise taxes, but face potential cuts to existing state programs and services, or raise taxes and spare programs and services.
A slight lead went to no new taxes with 48 percent in favor. Raising taxes was close behind with 43 percent approval.
Voters were also asked to weigh in on funding proposals. A majority support the GOP plan to move marijuana taxes away from public health and into education. But as many voters opposed the Republican proposal to reduce state employee raises from the levels negotiated last year.
Most agreed with Democrat-proposed taxes on capital gains and bottled water, but the majority was slight. Voters were split evenly on the same party’s plan to raise the Business and Occupation Tax.
The margin of sampling error is 4.5 percent.
“Voters would prefer to fund education and balance the budget with existing revenue, but they are open to persuasion on tax increases,” according to the analysis by Stewart Elway. “Not surprisingly, the taxes most favored are those deemed most likely to be paid by other people. A bigger problem: the tax proposals most voters support won’t produce enough revenue.”
The Senate passed the GOP-proposed budget Monday afternoon on a vote of 26-23. The House passed the Democrat’s budget proposal 51-47 Thursday afternoon.