Cutting Budgets without Reducing Spending?

What are people – Republicans and Democrats – thinking?  In a Washington Post poll last week, people, when asked “Would you increase, decrease, or keep spending the same for” a number of policy areas, could not bring themselves to decrease spending for most items, no matter their party (h/t to the Monkey Cage and Jim Bach, who provides a graphic example of Democrat and Republican preferences).  Though there are distinctions by party, what we find is that, despite politicians’ calls to the contrary, nobody really wants to decrease spending.  Though in all fairness, it is usually safe to assume people would likely take tax cuts before tax increases – yet, this assumption didn’t hold among North Carolinians last November.

But, in this political environment in which politicians project cuts, cuts, and more cuts based on voter mandates, balanced budget requirements, and political perspective, people, when asked, don’t like the idea.  In fact, our poll results from last November (here & here) indicate that North Carolinians are somewhat cognizant of these tough choices by their support of continuing the temporary taxes.  But, next week we’ll ask those same questions to see if there is any change in the sentiments of North Carolinians relative to those temporary taxes, particularly now that these choices are a bit more salient. At least one of the temporary taxes (the sales tax) found its way into Governor Perdue’s budget proposal (though it was altered a bit).  The Republican controlled General Assembly contends there is no room for tax increases and is planning to let those temporary taxes expire this summer.

What do North Carolinians want?  We’ll find out next week what they think about those temporary taxes.

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