Topeka A majority of people responding to survey questions posed by Rep. Sandy Praeger, R-Lawrence, think legislators should solve the state's budget problems through a combination of program cuts and tax increases.
Praeger agrees with that scenario, and points to an income tax increase as a potential revenue source.
"More people are interested in a combination" of tax increases and budget cuts, she said. "If we are going to fund services at current levels, we have to look at some more revenues."
Responses tallied today showed 170 people supported a combination of program cuts and tax increases to meet budget shortfalls, while 145 opposed the idea.
Two other possible solutions to budget shortfalls simply making across-the-board budget cuts or just raising taxes found greater opposition among constiuents. Across-the-board cuts received 162 "no" votes to 148 "yes," while raising taxes solely as a way to meet shortfalls received was opposed 216-75.
PRAEGER SENT out 4,000 questionaires to residents picked at random in her west Lawrence district, and about 250 had been returned by today. Many of the surveys had been answered by more than one voter in the household, she said.
Although the survey is non-scientific, it shows some trends.
Those responding would prefer to fund the Margin of Excellence program for Board of Regent schools through a tax on cigarettes rather than other possible sources being discussed in the Legislature.
Employing a cigarette tax to pay for the Margin far outdistanced using state lottery funds, moving money from the state highway program, or reducing other state programs.
A total of 266 respondents called for instituting a cigarette tax while 60 respondents opposed using this source of revenue.
A MAJORITY of those answering Praeger's survey also agree that political action committees (PACs) should not be able to contribute to political campaigns. A total of 255 respondents called for outlawing PAC contributions, while only 103 people disagreed.
Praeger, as a member of the House Elections Committee, has been dealing with this issue in ethics reform legislation. She has supported outlawing PAC political contributions.
Survey results also showed little support for some major points of Gov. Joan Finney's budget proposal.
Finney's plan to add $700 million in new sales taxes was opposed by 217 to 97. The governor's proposal to reduce property taxes by more than $300 million drew the support of 146 respondents while 159 opposed the plan. And Finney's idea to increase state spending for education, welfare and other services by an additional $400 million was rejected 186-129.
Praeger said she has gotten a more positive response to a possible income tax increase than any other idea for dealing with budget deficits.
"People say if they had to choose between sales taxes or income taxes, income taxes are more fair," she said.