AARP’s Washington State Office, in response to its commitment to protect important services for all state residents, commissioned this survey to explore the views of its 18+ registered voters about the importance of maintaining state services and ways to balance the state budget.
Key findings include:
- Registered voters aged 18+ in Washington state believe that funding for all state services must be maintained—K through 12 education, public safety and local government aid top the list of services. Eighty-five percent say it is extremely or very important to maintain funding for K-12 education. About seven in ten believe maintaining funding for public safety (73%) and local government aid (70%) is extremely or very important. Just over two-thirds believe it is important to maintain funding for transportation (68%) and public colleges and universities (67%).
- More than six in ten believe it is extremely or very important that funding be maintained for services that allow older people to stay in their homes such as meals on wheels and transportation (64%) and assistance with activities of daily living (62%). Six in ten also believe funding should be maintained for alternative housing arrangements such as adult family homes or assisted living (62%).
- Nearly all 18+ Washington registered voters are aware that the state has a budget imbalance and many believe that new revenue sources must be found to mitigate or avoid cuts to state services. Ninety-two percent know there is a budget deficit in Washington. Forty-five percent say the state needs to cut services and find new ways to raise money to balance the budget. Another 32 percent believe the state needs to find new ways to raise money without cutting services.
- In order to help balance the state budget 18+ Washington registered voters are the most supportive of closing business loopholes and taxing services that are not currently taxed if these revenues were dedicated to health and long-term care services. Half or more strongly or somewhat support closing loopholes for businesses (56%) and taxing services that are not currently taxed such as accounting, dry cleaning and legal services (50%). Fewer strongly or somewhat support taxing goods that are not currently taxed such as candy, soda pop and gum (42%). 18+ Washington registered voters are the least supportive of raising the sales tax: 32% strongly or somewhat support.
Woelfel Research Inc. conducted this telephone survey between November 19, 2010 and December 3, 2010, and a total of 803 interviews were completed among registered voters aged 18 and older in the state of Washington. For more information, please contact Joanne Binette at 202-434-6303.
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