July 2, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Francis De Luca (919) 834-2099
RALEIGH – The latest Civitas Poll shows that North Carolina voters favor tax reform – especially in the form of tax cuts.
Nearly seven out of 10 (69 percent) said the state needs tax reform. Virtually the same percentage (68 percent) agreed that lower taxes make a state more economically competitive. And 73 percent said that lower tax rates would encourage businesses to move here. Asked about revenue, 46 percent of voters said their main concern was tax relief for individuals and businesses while 37 percent said the revenue should remain the same (17 percent) or increase (20 percent).
On specifics, there was little apparent consensus. On current state budget proposals, 34 percent favored the Senate plan, 33 percent backed the House plan, and 31 percent said they didn’t know or they needed more information.
“Our poll suggests the public doesn’t have a clear preference for the details – as long as taxes get cut and cut in a way that makes the state more conducive to creating jobs and attracting new businesses,” Civitas President Francis De Luca said. “Legislators wrangling over the details might want to keep that in mind.”
The poll of 600 registered North Carolina voters had a margin of error of plus-minus 4 percent.
Actual text of questions from the Civitas Poll:
As a whole, would you say the state tax system is working fine for the state OR in need of reform?
23% Working fine for the state
69% In need of reform
8% Undecided/Don’t Know
From a personal perspective, what part of the North Carolina tax code do you feel needs the most reform? Would you say…
41% Personal income taxes
30% Business and corporate taxes
19% Sales taxes
9% Undecided/Don’t know
In your opinion, do you believe that states with higher taxes or lower taxes are more economically competitive?
12% States with higher taxes are more competitive
68% States with lower taxes are more competitive
20% Unsure/Undecided/ Don’t Know
Currently, North Carolina charges a 6.9 percent income tax on corporations. Do you feel that businesses would be more or less likely to move to North Carolina if the corporate tax rate was lowered?
73% More likely
9% Less likely
4% Undecided/Don’t Know
The state Senate recently released details of a tax reform proposal. The main details of the plan include: lowering the state personal income tax to a flat rate of 5.25 percent, eliminating the corporate tax, and applying the state sales tax to several items currently exempt while keeping the sales tax rate unchanged. The plan would also completely exempt food purchases from the sales tax. Do you favor or oppose the state Senate’s tax reform plan?
55% Total Favor
30% Total Oppose
24% Strongly Favor
31% Somewhat Favor
11% Somewhat Oppose
19% Strongly Oppose
16% Undecided/Don’t Know
The state House has also developed a tax reform plan. Their plan would lower the state personal income tax to a flat rate of just under 6 percent, lower the corporate tax rate, and lower the sales tax rate to just over six and a half percent, while expanding some, but not all, sales taxes on goods and services. The current local 2 percent tax on food purchases would remain intact. Do you favor or oppose the House’s tax reform plan?
42% Total Favor
41% Total Oppose
12% Strongly Favor
30% Somewhat Favor
19% Somewhat Oppose
22% Strongly Oppose
17% Undecided/Don’t Know
The main differences between the Senate and House plans are as follows:
- The Senate plan reduces personal income tax rates more than the House plan;
- The Senate plan completely eliminates the corporate income tax while the House lowers the rate
- The House plan keeps more specific deductions and credits on the personal income tax;
- And the Senate plan keeps the sales tax rate the same while eliminating several exemptions from the tax, while the House plan slightly lowers the sales tax rate but expands the sales tax to cover more items than the Senate plan.
Given this information, would you be more likely to favor the Senate plan or the House plan?
34% Senate Plan
33% House Plan
31% Don’t Know/Need More Info
And, in your own words, please tell me why you prefer that plan? (OPEN END)
20% Lower Taxes/More Money for the People
16% Favorable/Like it more than other Plan
15% Business/Promotes Business/Attracts Corps/Eliminates Corp Tax
10% Still Taxes Corporations/Adds Corp. Tax
9% Fair/Everyone pays their fair share/Equal Rates
5% Eliminates Tax on Food/No Food Tax
5% Lower Sales Tax/No Tax on Services/Doesn’t Raise Sales Tax
4% Benefits the State/Benefits the People
4% Increases Sales Tax/Taxes Services
3% Job/Job Creation
3% Helps the Poor
2% Support the Flat Tax
2% Works/Works better than current Plan
1% Increase Revenue/Broadens Tax Base
1% Economy/Helps the Economy
1% Not a Flat Tax
7% None/No Reason/Oppose this Tax Plan/Need More Info
7% Don’t know
Have you recently heard any advertising regarding tax reform in North Carolina?
2% Don’t Know/Refused
And, has this advertising made you more supportive of tax reform, less supportive of tax reform, or has it had no impact on your opinion?
18% More Supportive
19% Less Supportive
60% No Impact
2% Don’t Know/Refused
Regardless of whether you have heard advertisements or not, do you generally support or oppose tax reform in North Carolina?
14% Undecided/No Opinion
Regardless of which plan you prefer, would you be more inclined to support either tax reform plan if it included a guarantee that personal income taxes would be eliminated, even if that meant sales taxes would increase a little bit and apply to services not currently taxed?
46% More inclined to support
39% Less inclined to support
15% Don’t Know
Which aspect of state tax reform do you feel would be better for job creation in North Carolina?
20% Lower personal income tax rates
39% Lower corporate tax rates
10% Lower sales tax rates
13% Raising the sales tax rate slightly and expand the sales tax to services in exchange for elimination of income taxes
16% Don’t Know
In your opinion, which of the following approaches to tax reform is most important?
12% Elimination of a major tax, for instance eliminating completely the sales tax or income tax.
34% Keeping the three major taxes – income, corporate, and sales — but lowering the rates on all three taxes.
17% Keeping the three major taxes, but significantly lowering the rate on just income taxes.
15% Keeping the three major taxes, but significantly lowering the rate on just sales taxes.
19% Don’t Know
In terms of how much revenue a new state tax code generates, would you prefer:
46% The new tax code result in a tax cut to provide relief for taxpayers and businesses
17% The new tax code result in producing the same amount of revenue as the current tax code, to provide the same amount of funding for state government
20% The new tax code result in more revenue, to provide more funding for state government
16% Don’t Know
I’m going to read you a list of professional services you might pay for in a month. Please tell me whether or not you believe that each of the following professions should collect a sales tax or not…
Yes No Don’t Know/Refused
36% 60% 4%
42% 56% 3%
30% 66% 4%
Public Relations Professionals
35% 57% 9%
Auto Repair Shops
48% 49% 3%
26% 68% 6%
38% 57% 5%
Because of rounding, some subtotals may not equal 100 percent.
For crosstabs from these questions, click here.
About the Poll:
This poll of 600 registered voters in North Carolina was conducted June 18-19, 2013 by National Research, Inc. of Holmdel, NJ. All respondents were part of a fully representative sample of registered general election voters in North Carolina. Twenty-five percent of the respondents were cell phone-only users. For purposes of this study, voters interviewed had to have voted in at least one of the past two general elections (2010, 2012) or be newly registered to vote since November 7, 2012.
The confidence interval associated with a sample of this size is such that: 95 percent of the time, results from 600 interviews (registered voters) will be within +-4% of the “True Values.”
Civitas conducts the only regular live-caller polling of North Carolina voters. For more information on Civitas polling, see http://www.nccivitas.org/category/poll/.
The Civitas Institute is a think tank based in Raleigh, NC. More information on the Civitas Institute is available at www.nccivitas.org, or contact Jim Tynen at firstname.lastname@example.org or (919) 834-2099.