California Taxes, Public Opinion Poll, Waste, Fraud, & Mismanagement

Poll Finds 91 Percent of Californians Believe State Government Wastes Tax Dollars

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Asked if they think “the people in the state government waste a lot of the money we pay in taxes,” 91 percent of Californians said they do, according to a poll released February 22 by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC).

The poll found that 48 percent of the respondents believe the state wastes “a lot” of their tax dollars, 43 percent said the state wastes “some,” and only 8 percent said the people in charge of the state government “don’t waste very much.” Another 1 percent said they don’t know.

The results were even worse for the federal government, with 93 percent of the respondents saying there is waste (58 percent “a lot,” 35 percent “some,” 6 percent “don’t waste very much,” and 1 percent “don’t know.”

The poll also found that 41 percent of Californians believe the state budget deficit should be addressed “mostly through spending cuts,” compared to only 9 percent who support bridging the deficit “mostly through tax increases” and 39 percent who said they favor “a mix of spending cuts and tax increases.”

Asked if they would “rather pay higher taxes and have a state government that provides more services” or “pay lower taxes and have a state government that provides fewer services,” 49 percent said they favor lower taxes and fewer services, while 48 percent favor higher taxes and more services and 3 percent said they don’t know. (CalTax: We note that higher taxes do not necessarily result in more services, nor do lower taxes necessarily result in fewer services.)

The survey of 1,628 California adult residents – 47 percent Democratic, 24 percent Republican, 27 percent decline to state, and 2 percent in other parties – was conducted in English and Spanish from February 6 through February 13, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.