Poll: Support wanes for extending NC sales tax

Posted February 25, 2011

— A growing majority of North Carolina residents don't like the idea of keeping a temporary sales tax in place to help balance the state budget, but they are more receptive to maintaining income tax surcharges on top earners, according to a poll released Friday.

The Elon University Poll surveyed 467 people statewide Sunday through Thursday about the state budget and their opinion of Gov. Beverly Perdue. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.6 percentage points.

Fifty-three percent of those surveyed oppose making a penny increase to the state sales tax rate permanent, while 43 percent support the idea.

Lawmakers passed the tax increase two years ago to help balance the budget then, and it will end in June unless they extend it. Perdue last week proposed rolling it back by a quarter-cent, but Republican legislative leaders have vowed to pass a budget without any tax increase.

In November, 56 perent of respondents backed extending the sales tax, compared with 41 percent who opposed the idea.

State residents apparently prefer to use surcharges on the income taxes paid by individuals earning more than $60,000 a year and couples earning more than $100,000 to close a projected $2.4 billion budget deficit, according to the poll.

The 2 to 3 percent surcharge also was passed two years ago and is set to end this year. Neither Perdue nor lawmakers have suggested extending it.

Fifty percent of those surveyed want to keep the 2 percent surcharge in place, compared with 48 percent who oppose the idea. Fifty-nine percent want to keep the 3 percent surcharge, which affects the highest earners in the state – individuals who make at least $150,000 and couples who make $250,000 or more – while only 38 percent want that to expire.

Respondents don't like the idea of layoffs of state workers to balance the budget, with 57 percent opposed and 39 percent in favor. Perdue's proposed budget calls for laying off 3,000 employees and eliminating another 7,000 positions that are now vacant.

Across-the-board budget cuts also received a thumbs-down from those polled, with 58 percent opposed and 37 percent favoring spending reductions on all state programs.

Perdue's approval rating was up to 40 percent in the latest poll, from 38 percent in September and 35 percent last April. The number of those who have an unfavorable opinion of her has dropped from 45 percent last April to 38 percent.


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  • NC Taxpayer Feb 25, 2011

    "A growing majority of North Carolina residents don't like the idea of keeping a temporary sales tax in place to help balance the state budget, but they are more receptive to maintaining income tax surcharges on top earners, according to a poll released Friday." Seems unfair to try to balance the budget on the backs of one sector of our society.
    "The top 5 percent of taxpayers paid more than one-half (53.8 percent) of all individual income taxes, but reported roughly one-third (30.6 percent) of income." People always want someone else to foot their bill. A sales tax increase affects every person in NC. That is the only fair tax.

  • djofraleigh Feb 25, 2011

    Tax the rich, not the poor, please. The sales tax hits the poor hard.

  • Keepin_it_real_in_NC Feb 25, 2011

    Bev's 21% increase of sales tax on the poor needs to end.

  • aetius476 Feb 25, 2011

    I never understand how extracting more money out of the pockets of private citizens in order to support the continued growth of goverment and a bloated public sector workforce with lavish benefits is a good thing. Some people are so brainwashed into the propaganda of our goverment officials that they don't even have their own best interest at heart. Don't you understand, feeding a hungry pig just makes it get fatter and want more food. You have to cut the goverment's food supply. It only knows how to make itself bigger, it exists to grow!

  • Alex25 Feb 25, 2011

    Govt Taxation/Redistribution is not, was not, has never been and will never be the answer. Wake up...............

  • HeadPro Feb 25, 2011

    What support? Who in their right mind would support additional taxes to fund out of control spending and government waste not to mention just plain old poor fiscal policy? Certainly not me...

  • SlyBlackheart Feb 25, 2011

    Here's a thought: Poll the 53% of Americans who actually Pay income tax and ask how they feel about maintaining the additional tax on supposed "high earners" and cutting spending on state programs. You might find a different result.

  • Alex25 Feb 25, 2011

    Make the poor pay more. They are not paying their share.

  • downtowner Feb 25, 2011

    "According to liberals and democrats, only minorities. 250K used to be the threshold but seems like it's being whittled down to 100k, 75k, 60k.... like it matters, they will just re-assess when they want to take someone else's money until we are all reduced to the lowest common denominator"

    Agreed, I'm elated to make 35k and I consider myself middle class. I feel bad for those people making 15k or less, they are the true poor, and 60k+ is pretty rich. Would be nice to make that much one day.

  • whatusay Feb 25, 2011

    Oh, I forgot about our prison system. I guess we do need lots of money for that.