In urging action, poll shows public opinion on Gov. Walker’s side
Gov. Bill Walker will give his State of the State speech Wednesday night. He’ll talk about the state’s fiscal crisis, and urge lawmakers to take action in bridging the state’s unprecedented budget gap, like changing the Permanent Fund dividend program and adopting new taxes.
The Rasmuson Foundation presented a new poll, conducted by Strategies 360, to legislators at an informal lunch-and-learn meeting Tuesday afternoon. Its findings show public opinion may be on the governor’s side. Eighty-three percent of the 812 people polled said they would not vote for a legislator that takes no action to address the budget shortfall this year — 75 percent would vote for a legislator that support a combination of cuts and new revenue.
According to the report, 73 percent of those polled said they had heard something about the governor’s plan, 55 percent of them support it. People questioned seemed divided on changes to the PFD — 47 percent support, 49 percent oppose — and an income tax, as proposed by the governor — 49 percent support, 47 percent oppose.
Sixty-eight percent of those polled said a $1,000 dividend next year was acceptable.
Some lawmakers said the poll results were interesting, but wouldn’t play a big role in their decisions.
“A poll’s a snapshot at any given time,” said Senate President Kevin Meyer. “But what’s interesting is we’ve seen other polls and there does seem to be a trend going on that folks do support new revenue ideas.”
“I’m not going to decide what to do based on a poll,” said Rep. Les Gara, a member of the House Finance Committee. “That would just be too easy.”
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