New polling conducted by Douglas E. Schoen, LLC for the Manhattan Institute nationally and in 10 targeted states shows widespread bipartisan support to reduce state government spending rather than increase taxes.
The poll looked at state budget issues and collective bargaining and benefits for government employees. The poll of 400 Pennsylvania voters found:
- To fund our government employee pension/benefits, 49 percent support cutting government spending, 30 percent support requiring employees to contribute more to their plans, only 12 percent support raising taxes.
- As to why the state is in fiscal crisis, only 3 percent suggest the state is not taxing enough.
- 46 percent (plurality) support restrictions in collective bargaining rules.
- 57 percent support limiting teacher tenure.
- 64 percent support moving all government employees to a “401(k) type” retirement plan.
- 71 percent support giving government workers a choice of such a plan.
- 69 percent say the state government should not collect PAC contributions on behalf of government unions, as is currently done.
- 58 percent think the salary increases guaranteed in the most recent state contracts were too generous.
- 72 percent support making Pennsylvania a Right to Work state.
The state results paralleled those nationally:
- Voters strongly support policies that cut state spending and reduce benefits for current and future public employees, but not for retirees. Voters also believe that employees should contribute more towards their pensions. Voters strongly resist any tax increases.
- Voters acknowledge that the influence of unions needs to be curtailed in order for these reforms to occur. Voters feel there is no absolute right to collective bargaining; rather, it is a benefit that can and should be negotiated. Voters are prepared to accept some restrictions on collective bargaining when states are facing fiscal problems.
Pollster Schoen summarized these trends in a Wall Street Journal column on Monday.