Illinois voters favor some cuts, some taxes to fix broken budget

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - A new poll shows most Illinois voters believe the state's budget deficit can be solved by cuts and efficiency measures.

That's according to the fourth annual statewide Simon Poll, conducted by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

According to a press release from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, the poll found most voters oppose cuts to specific areas of the budget, and most methods of raising revenues.

Since 2008 the Simon Poll has asked Illinois voters whether they were for or against budget cuts in areas that make up the largest part of the state budget, including education, public safety, parks, human services, and retirement benefits.

"Over the last three years, despite frequent news coverage on the magnitude of the budget deficit, the percentage of Illinois voters who say the budget can be balanced by cutting waste and inefficiency hasn't budged," said Charles Leonard, the Simon Institute visiting professor who supervised the poll.

However, the poll found that voters are more accepting of some cuts and approve of some ways to raise state funds.

For the first time in four years of polling, poll administers say 56 percent of voters seem to approve expanding legalized gambling, and 50 percent are in favor of expanding the sales tax to cover services as well as goods.

"Being against taxes is a deeply ingrained American political sentiment," said Leonard, "So it is remarkable to see opposition to some of these forms of taxation softening. It is possible that the constant drumbeat of stories on bad state finances is making people come around to some fiscal realities."

The 2011 Simon Poll is the fourth annual statewide survey the Institute has conducted. The Institute also conducts an annual Southern Illinois Poll in the spring.

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