A constituent survey conducted by State Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, found that voters are resoundingly against any new taxes and would rather see government cut its spending.
“I think it is obvious that the people of this state want us to look at reducing the size of this government rather than asking them to pay more in response to the legislatures failures,” McCarter told the Record.
The survey was done during a conference call with “hundreds of constituents,” McCarter said.
In their responses related to proposals in Senate Bill 9 - or the "grand bargain" - 90 percent of the participants said they were against a sales tax on services like haircuts, car repairs, club memberships and dry cleaning.
On a question of sales tax, 98 per cent of respondents were against raising the current sales tax, which is 1 percent, to almost 6 percent.
When asked how the state should pay off its bills, 94 percent said spending needed to be cut.
“They are telling us that they have been taxed enough,” McCarter said. “The people are tapped out and they need government to straighten up and get their act together and not be asking for more taxes.”
As part of a grand bargain, the Senate has been set to vote on a variety of bills as a package, including income tax increases as well as reforms to the pension and workers' compensation systems.
The state’s teachers union have been against cuts and rather call for more taxes on wealthy residents and an end to corporate loopholes.
“I find it offensive that anyone would suggest that we should increase sales tax on food and drugs, which does nothing but target the poor and the working poor,” McCarter said. “This is your number two expense other than your rent, and they want to go directly at that? To me there is no reason that the citizens should have to pay like this just because the Legislature has failed to live within their means. When I say their means, really, it is the people’s means.”
McCarter said the call was one of the ways he was reaching out to constituents who have demonstrated they want to have a say in government decisions.
“I think we have seen that people are re-engaged in their government. I think this is what they want. They should feel a part of this,” he said.
“This is just one more way to allow them to be engaged in the process and it helps me to step up in the assembly and say ‘Hey, this is what the people said.’ It’s not just me that doesn’t like any more taxes. The people are saying that they can’t afford to pay.”
The survey also asked participants if they supported term limits for state lawmakers, and 91 per cent said yes.