July 25, 2002 - Property Tax Is Most Hated Tax In Pennsylvania, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Voters Not Confident Legislature Can Fix It
Pennsylvania voters say the local property tax is the worst tax in the state, but they don't want to raise other taxes to fix it, and have little confidence the legislature can fix it, according to Quinnipiac University's poll released today.

The local property tax is the worst tax, 53 percent of voters say, while 16 percent list the Federal Income Tax. The Social Security Tax gets 10 percent, followed by 9 percent who list the state sales tax and 5 percent who point to the state income tax.

By a 57 - 33 percent margin, Pennsylvania voters oppose raising the state income tax to finance property tax reform. By a similar 62 - 32 percent margin, voters oppose raising the state sales tax to finance property tax reform.

But if they had to choose, 49 percent of voters say raise the sales tax, while 37 percent say raise the income tax to finance property tax reform.

"Pennsylvania voters hate the property tax. More than half the voters dub it the 'worst tax' - more than the sales tax, state and federal income taxes and Social Security taxes combined," said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"Voters aren't keen on using either the sales tax or state income tax to replace revenue lost by reducing local property taxes, but when pushed, about half the voters say they would rather see sales taxes go up," Richards added.

The Pennsylvania State Legislature should convene in a special session to deal with the property tax before the election of a new governor, 49 percent of voters say, while 41 percent say do it after the November elections.

Whenever the legislature meets, only 3 percent of voters are "very confident" lawmakers will develop a fair property tax reform plan, while 35 percent are "somewhat confident;" 38 percent are "not too confident," and 20 percent are "not confident at all."

The property tax issue is "extremely important" in deciding how they will vote for state legislators, 36 percent of voters say; 44 percent say it's "fairly important," and 19 percent say it's "not that important."

Among homeowners, 37 percent say their own property taxes are "much too high," while 25 percent say they are "a little too high," and 36 percent say their taxes are "about right."

"The voters don't have much faith that the Pennsylvania Legislature will be able to solve the property tax problem, but four out of five say the issue will be important to them when they go to the polls this November to elect a new legislature," Richards said.

From July 16 - 22, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,176 Pennsylvania registered voters, with a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percent.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and the nation as a public service and for research. For additional data -- www.quinnipiac.edu
9. Which do you think is the worst tax -- that is the least fair -- federal income tax, federal Social Security tax, state income tax, state sales tax, or local property tax?
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                     Tot    Owner  Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    hsHld


Federal income tax 16% 17% 19% 15% 16% 19% 14% 20% Social Security tax 10 7 9 9 13 8 12 6 State income tax 5 5 5 6 5 6 5 6 State sales tax 9 8 6 13 10 10 9 6 Local property tax 53 57 55 52 47 53 53 58 DK/NA 6 6 6 5 8 5 6 4

Algny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl

Federal income tax 11% 27% 19% 16% 17% 14% 14% Social Security tax 9 11 10 8 15 6 10 State income tax 5 9 6 6 5 6 4 State sales tax 9 10 7 10 9 8 10 Local property tax 60 39 51 54 48 60 55 DK/NA 6 4 6 6 5 6 7

12. How important will property tax reform be in influencing your vote - extremely important, fairly important, or not that important?

                            Home                                      Union
                     Tot    Owner  Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    hsHld


Extremely important 56% 63% 58% 59% 46% 56% 57% 57% Fairly important 29 28 29 28 32 28 31 33 Not that important 13 9 12 12 20 15 11 9 DK/NA 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 Algny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl

Extremely important 57% 54% 63% 53% 56% 61% 54% Fairly important 30 31 26 33 32 25 28 Not that important 12 15 11 13 12 13 15

DK/NA 1 - 1 - - 1 3

13. Which candidate for Governor, Ed Rendell or Mike Fisher, do you think can do the best job handling property tax reform?

                            Home                                      Union
                     Tot    Owner  Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    hsHld


Rendell 40% 39% 23% 60% 35% 40% 40% 42% Fisher 30 32 48 15 28 34 27 31 NO DIFF 5 5 5 3 5 6 4 3 DK/NA 25 25 24 22 32 20 30 24 Algny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl

Rendell 34% 73% 36% 54% 25% 36% 26% Fisher 34 14 31 23 32 36 38 NO DIFF 4 3 3 5 6 3 5 DK/NA 28 10 30 18 37 25 30

19. Do you think a special session of the Pennsylvania legislature to handle the issue of property tax reform should be held before a new governor is elected or should it be delayed until after a new governor takes office?

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                     Tot    Owner  Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    hsHld


Held before election 49% 49% 48% 49% 49% 48% 51% 50% Delayed until after 41 41 42 43 39 44 39 41 DK/NA 10 10 9 8 12 9 10 8

Algny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl

Held before election 54% 40% 51% 45% 53% 52% 50% Delayed until after 35 54 36 48 36 40 37 DK/NA 11 6 13 6 11 7 12

20. How confident are you that the legislature will be able to come up with a fair property tax reform plan? Very confident, somewhat confident, not too confident, or not confident at all?

                            Home                                      Union
                     Tot    Owner  Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    hsHld


Very confident 3% 3% 3% 5% 2% 4% 3% 6% Smwht confident 35 33 35 43 22 31 39 31 Not too confident 38 41 41 34 38 38 38 38 Not conf. at all 20 20 18 16 33 25 16 22 DK/NA 3 3 2 2 5 2 4 3

Algny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl

Very confident 8% 5% 3% 2% 4% 3% 2% Smwht confident 23 47 35 42 30 35 31 Not too confident 39 29 42 36 43 41 38 Not conf. at all 28 17 17 19 19 19 23 DK/NA 1 2 2 1 4 2 6



21. Experts agree that property tax reform requires tax shifting; that is lowering local property taxes that finance education and replacing the loss with higher state taxes to pay for increased state aid for education.

Do you favor or oppose raising the state income tax to finance property tax reform?
                            Home                                      Union
                     Tot    Owner  Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    hsHld


Favor 33% 35% 32% 33% 33% 37% 29% 33% Oppose 57 56 56 59 57 56 59 58 DK/NA 9 9 11 8 9 7 12 9

Algny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl

Favor 36% 23% 41% 30% 37% 36% 32% Oppose 56 66 51 62 54 54 57 DK/NA 8 11 8 8 9 10 11

22. Do you favor or oppose raising the state sales tax to finance property tax reform?
                            Home                                      Union
                     Tot    Owner  Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    hsHld


Favor 32% 35% 36% 26% 36% 37% 28% 31% Oppose 62 60 58 69 58 59 64 63 DK/NA 6 5 6 5 6 4 8 6

Algny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl

Favor 30% 21% 33% 27% 41% 43% 34% Oppose 66 76 60 69 52 52 58 DK/NA 4 3 7 4 7 5 9

23. If you had to choose, would you prefer raising the state sales tax or the state income tax to finance property tax reform?

                            Home                                      Union
                     Tot    Owner  Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    hsHld


Raise sales tax 49% 50% 52% 44% 53% 48% 50% 45% Raise income tax 37 36 35 43 32 41 34 41 DK/NA 14 13 13 14 15 11 17 14

Algny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl

Raise sales tax 44% 49% 49% 53% 56% 49% 44% Raise income tax 42 39 39 35 28 33 40 DK/NA 14 12 12 12 17 17 16

24. When it comes to voting for members of the Pennsylvania state legislature in this November's election, how important will property tax reform be in influencing your vote - extremely important, fairly important, or not that important?
                            Home                                      Union
                     Tot    Owner  Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    hsHld


Extremely important 36% 40% 32% 40% 31% 35% 36% 40% Fairly important 44 46 50 39 45 47 42 43 Not that important 19 12 15 20 22 16 21 16 DK/NA 2 2 2 1 2 2 2 1

Algny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl

Extremely important 43% 33% 39% 25% 40% 48% 33% Fairly important 39 40 43 55 37 40 44 Not that important 16 27 16 18 22 11 20 DK/NA 1 - 2 2 2 1 3



25. Do you own or rent your apartment or house?
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                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    hsHld


Own 76% 83% 74% 70% 79% 74% 85% Rent 20 14 23 25 18 21 11 LIVE RENT FREE(VOL) 3 2 4 4 3 4 4 DK/NA 1 1 - 1 - 1 -

Algny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl

Own 74% 65% 78% 75% 77% 83% 79% Rent 25 31 16 18 16 16 19 LIVE RENT FREE(VOL) 1 3 4 6 6 1 2 DK/NA - 1 2 1 1 - -

26. (If "own" apartment or house Q25) Do you think the local property taxes you pay are too high or are they about right? IF "Too high": Are they much too high or just a little too high?

                     HOMEOWNERS q25. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    hsHld


Much too high 37% 40% 33% 38% 42% 33% 34% A little too high 25 24 26 24 18 31 27 About right 36 34 40 37 38 35 39 DK/NA 2 2 1 2 1 2 -