California Survey Shows Voters Support Localized Taxing of Goods

According to a new poll of 1,507 California natives, the state’s voters are on board with allowing local governments to levy taxes against products such as cigarettes, alcohol, sugar-filled beverages and oil pumped out of the ground.  This type of thing is not permitted in California at the current time; but a proposal that is being bandied back in forth in the state’s capital would allow local residents to vote on whether or not their local governments could in fact sign such tax bills into law. 

In this down economy, the rising costs of gasoline are a reason why many have turned to hybrid vehicles, public transportation or cars with high MPG ratings. Similarly, some cigarette smokers have reevaluated the habit due to high costs and looked into alternatives such as electronic cigarettes.

The California poll was conducted across all regions of the state and encompassed all age groups.  It was conducted by The Times and the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.  Findings from the poll show that nearly 60% of tax payers are in favor of the move.  “Leave it up to the locals,” said Paul Greenberg, a 54-year old semi-retired Democrat from San Diego. “Let the people vote on it. I don’t see anything wrong on [sic] that.”  It would permit cities, counties and in excess of 1,000 school boards to pass their own levies on goods – assuming they are approved by local voters, of course.  After having both sides of the argument presented to them, 64% of Dems and 42% of Republicans are in favor of such a bill.  The income from the taxes would go directly to any local municipality and school board associated with them.

Support for the four main categories of taxable goods was varied, though.  Cigarette taxes were quite popular among non-smokers.  “I don’t even smoke, so if it’s an increase in that, it doesn’t harm me,” said one California man who was surveyed.  “Oil? Jeez, that would just be passed on to all of us,” said Democrat Mary Lou Curry of Yucca Valley, “as if we don’t already pay enough at the gas pump.”

It should also be noted that it is far easier to achieve support for raised taxes in theory as opposed to when they are actually being proposed by lawmakers.  Yet, the mere thought of it becoming a reality is likely to make many consider giving up smoking.  Still the debate over whether or not it is right to enact these taxes is likely to continue on for some time to come.

Lindsay Powell is a young professional improving her writing skills and finding inspiration around her.

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