Fewer Marylanders are opposed to tax increases than last year, but most still would prefer cutting services or increasing the sales tax over an increase in property taxes, according to a University of Maryland poll.
"The poll results indicate some softening of people's resistance to see their taxes raised given the option of reduced services," said John P. Robinson, director of the university's Survey Research Center. "Nonetheless, it is clear that raising taxes or state sales taxes is still not a very popular option."
The poll was conducted between October and December by the center, which did random telephone interviews of 756 Maryland residents about their opinions on state taxes.
In light of the state government's tight budget, repondents were asked, "Which do you prefer, raising taxes or reducing services?" In the survey, 37 percent of the repondents said they would raise taxes. In the spring of 1982, 34 percent of respondents wanted to raise taxes. Only 31 percent said that in a spring 1981 poll. In the most recent poll, 54 percent of the people said they favored an increase in sales tax, while only 22 percent were willing to pay out more in property taxes.
Reducing services was a more favorable idea to 41 percent of the people interviewed in the recent survey, but the same question won the support of 56 percent of repondents in spring of 1981, and 42 percent in spring 1982.
Robinson also pointed out that location, race and political affiliation shaped opinions. As in earlier polls, Robinson said, more Marylanders living in rural western and eastern counties were in favor of reduced state services, and more citizens living in urban and surburban areas were in favor of increasing taxes.
More blacks and self-identifed liberals were in favor of raising taxes than conservatives, the survey showed.