Public Opinion Poll

Poll Finds 62 Percent of Californians Feel Overtaxed

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Asked about their combined state and local tax burden, 62 percent of California adults said they are paying more than they think they should, and 3 percent said they think they are undertaxed, according to a Public Policy Institute of California poll released March 24.

The poll found that while 51 percent of Californians support “higher taxes and more services” (compared to 44 percent who support “lower taxes and fewer services”), the level of taxation has gone beyond the level deemed necessary by the vast majority of residents.

The wording of the tax burden question: “When you combine all of the taxes you pay to state and local governments, do you feel that you pay much more than you should, somewhat more than you should, about the right amount, or less than you should?” The results: 35 percent “much more,” 27 percent “somewhat more,” 32 percent “about the right amount,” 3 percent “less than you should,” and 3 percent “don’t know.”

Respondents also were asked: “Overall, how fair do you think our present state and local tax system is – would you say it is very fair, moderately fair, not too fair, or not at all fair?” The results: 6 percent “very fair,” 34 percent “moderately fair,” 29 percent “not too fair,” 29 percent “not at all fair,” and 3 percent “don’t know.”

The poll also included questions on various elected officials, the pandemic, changes to the recall election process, and other issues.

The pollster surveyed 1,672 California adult residents, including 1,071 interviewed on cell phones and 601 on landline telephones. Interviewing took place March 6 through March 17. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.1 percent for the questions using the full sample. Some of the results were broken down into subcategories for which the margin of error was higher.