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More Washington voters are concerned about taxes as the Legislature gets ready to convene next week, according to a new statewide poll.

The survey by independent Seattle pollster Stuart Elway found that, for the fourth straight year, education was the top concern listed by voters, with 32 percent ranking it as the “most important” issue for state lawmakers to deal with. That was down from 45 percent last year – perhaps a recognition that lawmakers have pumped billions of additional dollars into public schools in recent years.

Taxes jumped up on the list of voter concerns in Elway’s poll, with 27 percent listing them as the top concern – the highest mention in the poll since 1997. Why? Elway’s poll didn’t drill down on that point.

“It is unclear whether the rise is due to the tax package just passed by Congress, or the ‘levy swap’ tax plan put in place by the Legislature last year, or some combination of both. Whatever the reason, taxes are higher than normal on the public radar as the 2018 session opens,” Elway says.

Twenty one percent of voters in the poll mentioned social services as a growing concern, citing the homelessness crisis across the state. Infrastructure, transportation and the economy also were among the higher-rated concerns in the poll.

Just 37 percent of those polled believe the Legislature will make “significant progress” on their top concerns in the upcoming 60-day session, which begins Monday.

Elway’s poll also found Gov. Jay Inslee’s job-approval rating remained comparatively steady, with 43 percent giving the second-term Democrat a grade of “excellent” or “good” and 53 percent judging his performance “poor” or “only fair.” Last July, Inslee’s approval rating was 40 percent.

The poll of 504 registered voters was conducted using paid interviewers from Dec. 27-30. It had a reported margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percent.