Majority see cuts as solution to Illinois budget woes, but few a - Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Majority see cuts as solution to Illinois budget woes, but few agree what to trim

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Slightly more than half of Illinoisans say cutting "waste and inefficiency" is the best solution to solving the state's budget deficits, but few agree what should actually be cut. 

A new poll from Southern Illinois University's Paul Simon Public Policy Center said 29 percent of voters would cut higher education, 17 percent would trim health and human services, and 6 percent would target K-12 education. The largest response for areas to cut, however, was "none of the above" with 32 percent. 

“This year, as in years past, our poll shows the people of Illinois support spending cuts in the abstract, but are reluctant to endorse specific spending cuts. This underscores one of the essential reasons for our state’s seemingly intractable budget problems. The people of Illinois seem to be saying, ‘Please cut spending, but we have no idea of where to actually cut spending and stay clear of the programs that we like’” said John Shaw, director of the Paul Simon Institute.

One in ten Illinoisans said the solution to the state's fiscal problems is more revenue, and 28 percent said a combination of revenue and cuts. 

Seventy-six percent of respondents said they would support a so-called "millionaire's tax" of an extra three percent levy on income over $1 million. Seventy-two percent would favor an amendment to the Illinois Constitution to allow for a graduated income tax. A slight plurality of 49 percent would favor legalized gambling to help raise state money.

The proposal of taxing retirement income like pensions and Social Security was widely opposed, with 74 percent weighing in against the idea. 

The poll was conducted Feb. 19-25 with 1001 registered Illinois voters. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percent. 

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