USC Poll: Voters want unneeded tax

April 13, 2012

By Wayne Lusvardi

An opinion poll might tell you if a majority of the public wants higher taxes.  But it cannot tell you if higher taxes are needed.  Nevertheless, the mainstream media only want to report what opinion polls say people want, while ignore if the tax is needed at all.

A case proving that the media prefers to report opinion to reality is a University of Southern California Dornsife College opinion poll conducted last month. That poll reportedly found 64 percent of those polled supported Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed $7.1 billion tax increase package.

A second poll just conducted online by USC found 63 percent favored the governor’s tax, supposedly “confirming” voter support.  Such a nearly identical result should be a red flag that the polling questions are designed to get a desired outcome.

The Dornsife College poll is the same outfit that in April 2011 reported “Californians support tax hikes to help close budget gap.”  Upon further investigation into the polling methods and results, only 9 percent of those polled actually indicated they wanted a “tax increase.”

So it is no surprise that the USC poll once again reports public support for a tax increase.  What has changed since last year, however, is that Brown recently has personally reported that the California Gross Domestic Product  increased by $90 billion in 2011.  If confirmed, that would indicate a whopping 4.74 percent increase in GDP.

That should generate at least the $7.1 billion in extra taxes that Brown wants to raise with a tax rate increase. An alternative tax rate increase proposal by billionaire Molly Munger would raise about $10 billion in taxes annually. But neither tax increase would be necessary if GDP has increased by $90 billion.

California lost about $4.5 billion in sales taxes when the temporary 1 percent sales tax increase expired in July 2011. The temporary sales tax increase was authorized under Assembly Bill X-3-3 in 2008.

A recent report from the California Controller John Chiang indicates, however, that tax revenues were down in by 22 percent in February 2012 from February 2011. How could the GDP be rising by $90 billion and tax revenues have declined?  This is a mystery that the media apparently do not want to investigate.

Several factors could explain the drop in tax revenues beyond the loss of $4.5 billion in temporary sales taxes, even though GDP has increased, such as: the flight of industriesto other states and countries due to the new Cap and Trade rules and high taxes; the impacts of monetary inflation from federal stimulus policies; underreporting tax receipts; or some other as yet unexplained reason.

The California Legislature recently gave up $2 billion in property tax revenues from redevelopment agencies for affordable housing.

Opinion pollers want to report the forest and the average citizen wants the number of trees reported. The trees represent so many real cords of wood of definable quality. But the forest is hard to define. California opinion polls can no longer tell the forest from the trees or opinion from reality.



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