BOSTON (State House News Service) – A sizable majority of Massachusetts voters would prefer for Beacon Hill to deploy its budget surplus toward reducing taxes rather than increasing overall spending, according to a new poll.
Three-quarters of the voters surveyed by polling and political advocacy firm Priorities for Progress picked tax cuts as their preferred use of excess tax revenues, while 25 percent said they would rather see the money go toward expanding state programs.
The results of the poll, shared with the News Service, indicate sizable support for tax relief as the House prepares to roll out and debate its response to Gov. Maura Healey’s nearly $1 billion tax relief and reform proposal.
Overall, pollsters found overwhelming support for Healey’s proposal, which would create a new $600-per-dependent tax credit for parents and caregivers, expand breaks for renters and seniors, triple the estate tax threshold to $3 million and slash the short-term capital gains tax rate from 12 percent to 5 percent.
Asked to take an up-or-down position on the bill, 79 percent of voters said they somewhat or strongly support it and 13 percent said they strongly or somewhat oppose it.
Priorities for Progress said it found support across the ideological spectrum. Sixty-seven percent of Democrats said they support tax relief, as do 84 percent of Republicans and 85 percent of independents.
As of Feb. 1, about 2.9 million of the Bay State’s voters were not enrolled in a political party, compared to nearly 1.39 million registered Democrats and 421,000 registered Republicans.
“Voters place themselves in the center, and see Healey there with them. Voters share the Healey-Driscoll Administration’s priorities of lowering costs and returning the budget surplus, with voters across the ideological spectrum choosing tax cuts,” said Liam Kerr, PFP’s founder.
Top House Democrats have not outlined many details about their forthcoming tax package, but signaled it will likely feature some kind of estate tax reform and many of the ideas lawmakers initially approved last year before ultimately backing away from the topic.
PFP found that voters generally have a positive view of Healey three months into her term. Sixty-four percent of respondents said they view her strongly or somewhat favorably, compared to 26 percent who view the Democrat somewhat or strongly unfavorably.
That gave her a higher net favorability rating than Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll (42 percent favorable, 16 percent unfavorable), Attorney General Andrea Campbell (34 percent favorable, 21 percent unfavorable), Auditor Diana DiZoglio (24 percent favorable, 11 percent unfavorable), U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (54 percent favorable, 41 percent unfavorable), and U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (56 percent favorable, 31 percent unfavorable).
The poll surveyed 500 registered and likely voters online between March 16 and March 21 using samples from opt-in survey panels. PFP said the margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percent.