Poll: huge support for transport tax cuts

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A recent poll by Public Opinion Strategies, a national political and public affairs research firm, found Pinal County residents overwhelmingly support another version of the half-cent transportation sales tax deemed unconstitutional in March.

Glen Bolger, partner and co-founder of the company, says the public is ready to step up to fund long-term transportation solutions.

“Pinal County is about to vote again, more widely than in 2017, for Propositions 416 and 417,” Bolger said during a recent Zoom call with members of the Pinal Regional Transport Authority.

Proposition 416 was the measure that outlined the county’s long-term transportation plan, and Proposition 417 was the tax funding measure. The tax was ruled unconstitutional by the Arizona Supreme Court because it was two-tiered, with only the first $10,000 of any transaction taxed and the rest exempt.

Bolger said the early support for the tax is not surprising.

“Support for taxes always sounds better at the start, when it’s more theoretical than real, so expect the final vote not to be as high as it was in the survey,” he said. he told PRTA members at last month’s virtual meeting. “And remember, the undecided vote no on proposals, especially ones involving taxes.”

Even with these facts, Bolger said the tax has an advantage because people have been paying it for four years, making it easier for them to support it again, especially since it is targeted at projects that have already been defined and of highway. These projects include the widening of State Route 347 from Maricopa to Interstate 10; construction of the Sonoran Desert Parkway on the south side of Maricopa from SR 347 to I-10; widening of I-10 to three lanes from the valley to Casa Grande; and moving forward with the development of the I-11.

The proposals are doing well across all parties, with Democrats most in favor — but most Republicans and independents also support them. There are modest differences by ethnicity, region of the county and gender/age on the two proposals, but these differences are not significant for targeting.

Bolger said his company only tested one message, but the results were out of this world.
“86% strongly agree, including 58% strongly, that traffic has only gotten worse since voters approved the tax,” he said. “We need new roads and highways now, and that doesn’t mean new taxes since the tax has been collected for the past four years. It’s a succinct message that we need to focus on, along with the need to vote yes for new roads and highways to be built.

The Alexandria, Va. firm surveyed 300 likely voters in Pinal County from March 12-15, and the poll had a margin of error of 5.66%.

In the most revealing responses, survey subjects were asked the following question: “Just recently, the Arizona State Supreme Court struck down portions of Propositions 416 and 417, stopping tax collection and ending funding for the construction of new roads and highways in Pinal County.If the county resolves the technical issue that caused the state Supreme Court to strike down the proposals and both proposals are put back on the ballot for Pinal County residents to vote in November 2022, will you vote yes or no on both proposals?”

Over two-thirds of respondents said yes – 33% definitely and 35% probably. Only 18% said no, of which 8% answered “categorically no”. Thirteen percent did not know.
Of Democrats who asked this question, 82% were in the yes column while 63% of Republicans answered yes, as did 60% of independents.

Additionally, the Regional Transportation Plan, or Prop 416, appears to be favored by 80% of respondents. Proposition 417, the tax itself, showed just over two-thirds still supported it, with 41% saying they would definitely vote yes and 26% probably yes. Less than one in three people would oppose the tax, with 17% “strongly opposed” and 12% “opposed”.

Men are slightly more likely than women to support the tax, with 73% of men aged 18-54 in favor compared to 65% of women in that age bracket. In the age group of 55 and over, the tax is borne by 71% of men and 61% of women.

As with the plan itself, those who agree that traffic has worsened are supporting the tax at a higher rate. Those who totally agree that the traffic is worse support the tax at 80% against 17%; those who tend to agree support it at 66% against 31%; and those who disagree with the statement oppose the tax by a whopping 86% to 11%.

Bolger identified a potential strategy for those opposing the tax in the upcoming election.
“The way opponents will try to defeat this is to pretend that the money goes into a black box and is spent on government perks and privileges, like fancy offices and pay raises,” he said. . “We haven’t tested it, but it would be good to point to roads and highways built or under construction using 416/417 money, to prove the money is going where it’s intended. “

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