CBS NEWS/NEW YORK TIMES POLLFor release: Wednesday, July 18, 20126:30 pm EDTViews on Local Government Services and Tax Cuts
July 11-16, 2012Americans are divided on the general concept of reduced local government services in exchangefor significantly lower taxes, but when asked about cuts to some specific local services – likepolice and firefighters -- the public is much less inclined to make such a trade-off.In general, 45% of Americans say they are willing to have many of their local governmentservices reduced if that meant they would pay significantly less in taxes, but 46% are not willingto accept that. There are partisan differences; a majority of Republicans are willing to reduce theirlocal services in exchange for lower taxes, while Democrats are not willing.
Reduced Local Gov’t Services if Taxes are Lower
Total Reps Dems IndsWilling 45% 57% 36% 44%Not willing 46 32 54 48Opinions change, however, when Americans are asked about cuts to some specific localservices. Overwhelming majorities (eight in 10 Americans) are not willing to have emergencyservices reduced -- such as fewer firefighters and police officers -- even if that meant they wouldpay significantly less in taxes. In the area of public education, just one in five would supporthaving shorter school days or more crowded classrooms if that meant paying lower taxes. 74%are opposed to such a trade-off.There is somewhat more support for a reduction in less essential services like libraries and parks.30% are willing to see cuts in those areas if it meant they would pay significantly less in taxes, buta majority (66%) is still opposed to that.
Support if Meant Taxes Would be Significantly Lower
Willing Not WillingFewer firefighters or fire stations 12% 83Fewer police or precincts 15% 82Shorter school days or crowded class rooms 21% 74Less essential services 30% 66There is partisan agreement on these specifics. Majorities of Democrats, Republicans andindependents are unwilling to see cuts in these areas in exchange for lower taxes, althoughRepublicans are the most willing to accept a reduction in less essential services if it meant theywould pay significantly less in taxes.