Residents support increasing taxes

As California politicians haggle over how to handle the current state budget crisis, some Bay Area residents seem to have grudgingly accepted the fact taxes may be increased.

Although a majority of polled Bay Area residents said they considered the state’s budget situation serious, 44 percent of 601 interviewed said that the budget deficit can be resolved without having to increase taxes, while 48 percent thought taxes will have to be increased.

However, most would still agree to be taxed more to improve schools, health care and transportation, according toa poll released Friday by the Bay Area Council, a public-policy advocacy organization.

“It’s clear that there isn’t a super majority that exists on taxation versus cuts,” said Jim Wunderman, the Bay Area Council’s president and CEO. “The implication of the poll is that it would take a combination of both to get the job done, but if there is to be any increase in taxes, there are some reforms that would have to go along with that.”

San Carlos resident Tom Young, who was filing his federal and state income taxes Friday, said there was no way to avoid paying more to fix the budget.

“Many people say no taxes, but I don’t think we can just keep saying that,” he said. “I don’t think we can continue cutting this and that without any additional revenue.”

San Francisco resident Elliot Lefferts, 66, disagreed, saying that he already paid too much in taxes.

“We are paying much higher percentage of income tax already,” he said. “To me, you balance your budget by cutting your expenses, not by looking for revenues that don’t exist.”

Taxpayers groups support Lefferts’ sentiment. According to Jon Coupal, president of Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, budget deficits stem from bureaucracy and can be fixed by prioritizing spending.

According to the poll, a majority of residents said they would favor paying taxes that would provide more funding for public schools.

The majority also thought there should be stricter accountability on state spending as well as a requirement to save surplus state tax from prosperous years to use when facing a budget deficit.

svasilyuk@examiner.com

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