While Wisconsin voters endorse the idea of boosting take-home pay, they reject suggestions the state should increase sales taxes in order to eliminate the income tax.
Gov. Scott Walker moved earlier this year to boost take-home pay by changing tax withholding tables. He also raised the idea of trading higher sales taxes for no income tax as his administration studies tax reform options for the next two-year budget.
A statewide survey by UW-Milwaukee’s polling center a little more than a month out from the tax filing deadline found:
— A majority of voters (60 percent) would oppose expanding and increasing state sales taxes in order to eliminate the need for a state income tax, while 33 percent would favor such changes.
— More monthly take-home pay is the preferred option for a substantial majority of Wisconsin voters (58 percent), while just 34 percent would prefer a larger refund in 2015.
The quarterly Economic Scorecard survey was done over landlines and mobile phones from March 3-7. The margin of error for the 407 respondents who said they were registered voters was plus or minus 4.9 percent The poll is done four times a year by the UW-Milwaukee survey center in cooperation with WisBusiness.com and Milwaukee Public Radio.
The poll also found:
— That when it comes to legalizing and taxing the sale of marijuana in the state, Wisconsin voters are split (50 percent in favor/47 percent opposed).
— Over three-quarters (77 percent) of Wisconsin registered voters support an increase in Wisconsin’s minimum wage. Respondents who failed to indicate opposition to a proposed general increase in the minimum wage were asked a follow-up question about support for a specific proposal to increase the state minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. According to the results, 57 percent of registered voters support the $10.10 per hour proposal.
The registered voters were part of a slightly larger sample of 453 Wisconsin residents. Major findings from the larger sample, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.6 percent, showed that:
— While 57 percent of Wisconsin residents say the state is “headed in the right direction,” just 34 percent describe Wisconsin’s recent economic performance in positive terms. However, the intensity of opinion on the matter has faded somewhat since last quarter; while 25 percent said the state was headed “strongly in the right direction” in December, just 18 percent express that feeling now, and the proportion of residents saying the state is “strongly on the wrong track” dropped from 20 percent to 16 percent over the same time period.
— After eight consecutive quarters of incremental improvements, indicators measuring satisfaction with the state economy and consumer spending on recreation and entertainment worsened this quarter.
— And 49 percent of residents express satisfaction with the pace of job creation in the state, while 51 percent say they are dissatisfied. About 23 percent say they are “very dissatisfied,“ compared to 5 percent who say they are “very satisfied.” Those numbers differed little from the December results.
Pollster Joe Cera concludes, “Partisanship and personal economic factors continue to exercise strong yet independent influences on opinion about Wisconsin’s overall direction. Republicans are more likely than Democrats to express optimism regarding where the state is headed even when they share similar personal economic situations. At the same time, those who are struggling economically are more likely to express pessimism than are those who are doing well, even when they share party labels.”