Tax Polls Irrelevant Now
January 25, 2012
Joel Fox makes some good points about the recent PPIC poll on tax increases. Supposedly the poll showed big margins of folks backing tax increases.
But Fox pointed out that the recent Republican poll numbers in the primary season have changed rapidly within just a few days. There are no active campaigns yet against the taxes to give the poll numbers context. And those who answered the polls liked taxing the rich, but not themselves through a sales tax hike.
The poll also showed that people favored higher taxes on commercial real estate, a “split roll” tax. “The poll asked if the respondents favored or opposed taxing commercial property at market value. The response was 60 percent favorable, 34 percent opposed,” Fox wrote. “But there was no context to the question. In a campaign, consequences of raising taxes on business, like the potential of lost jobs, would be presented to the voters. Surely, voters hearing both sides of an argument would result in some change in the current poll numbers.”
I would add that the context here would that a split roll would be an assault on Proposition 13, which is the “third rail” in California politics. All ads against the tax would focus on that.
A big question is whether rich people, if they’re assaulted by higher tax increases, will fight back. The didn’t when the 1 percent tax on millionaires was imposed by crazed voters back in 2004 to fund mental-health care. But this time, wealthy producers and investors might be fed up with having their money robbed. Money, by the way, that is used to invest in business and jobs creation.
Tax obsessives believe that there are no consequences to increasing taxes. But there are. Money is taken away from investing and used to pay the bloated pensions of government workers.
Maybe Californians have just about had enough of such robbery.
Jan. 25, 2012