In the November 2006 elections, voters in several states are asked to approve tax-limitation initiatives that, if passed, would set rigid caps on state revenues and expenditures. While most of these proposals’ go by the name of TABOR, short for the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, some are also known as SOS (Stop OverSpending), TEL (Tax and Expenditure Limitation), TASC (Tax and Spending Control) or TPA (Tax Payer Amendment).
No matter what their name, these TABOR-like measures share the use of a formula tying how much states (and sometimes counties, cities, towns, school districts, etc.) may collect in taxes and spend to the extent of population growth and increases in the Consumer Price Index. Although each state effort is essentially local, the initiatives are supported financially and philosophically by national organizations seeking to reduce and limit the role of government in citizens’ lives.
Since they can potentially affect people’s standard of living, these telephone surveys of AARP members as well as registered likely voters in nine states in which TABOR-like initiatives are being considered examine how much and what they know about TABOR, and their reactions when advised of its likely effects. In general, there is a decline in support for the initiatives over the course of the interview.
Telephone surveying of 600 AARP members in each affected state was conducted for AARP in Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Oregon during May by Alan Newman Research. A telephone survey of 631 self-identified registered likely voters was conducted in Nebraska during August 2006 by Woelfel Research, Inc. Further information about the surveys may be obtained from Susan Silberman of AARP Knowledge Management at 202-434-6339.