Voters are split over how to increase education spending and balance the state budget, although a plurality favors a no-new-taxes approach, a new Elway Poll released Monday says.
According to the poll, 48 percent of those who responded favor using existing revenues to increase spending on public education, even if that requires cuts to other programs. Another 43 percent would increase education spending while avoiding cuts to other services, even if that means raising taxes.
The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.
State Senate Republicans have proposed a budget that would boost K-12 spending by $1.3 billion without raising taxes. Instead they would shift about $300 million in recreational-marijuana tax revenue to education and transfer about $380 million to the general fund from other accounts, among other things.
House Democrats, meanwhile, would add about $1.4 billion to state education spending and help pay for it with a new tax on some capital gains and raising a segment of the business-and-occupation tax.
Two thirds of Democrats polled prefer raising taxes over cutting programs, while two thirds of Republicans support funding education first, even if that means cuts to other programs.
A majority of independents, 54 percent, support the education-first approach rather than tax increases, pollster Stuart Elway said.
Some 60 percent of those surveyed favor the Republicans’ approach to use marijuana taxes to help fund education, while small majorities would accept the Democrats’ capital gains tax increase and a bottled water tax. Respondents were split on a business-and-occupation tax increase.
“Bottom line: these voters would prefer to fund education and balance the budget with existing revenue, but they are open to persuasion on tax increases,” Elway wrote.
The poll surveyed 505 registered voters April 1-3.