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Statewide poll: Majority of Illinois voters say state should balance the budget through spending cuts, not tax increases

More than half of Illinoisans say state government spends too much money, and should close its budget deficit by only cutting spending – not raising taxes. This is according to a new poll of likely Illinois voters, released today by the non-partisan Illinois Policy Institute.

The state has been without a full year’s budget for almost two years. The Illinois General Assembly is expected to take up a budget proposal from the Illinois Senate, called the ‘grand bargain.’ This proposal would enact massive tax increases and accomplish little with regard to transformative spending or economic reforms. The poll results show the main components of the ‘grand bargain’ are significantly out of step with how Illinois voters would like their elected officials to end the historic budget impasse.

“The poll results are clear: Illinoisans from both sides of the political aisle are fed up with tax increases and do-nothing legislation sold to them as ‘reform.’ They know state government spends more than it should, and they feel the pain of high income and property taxes,” said John Tillman, CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute.

The poll was conducted by Fabrizio, Lee & Associates, and surveyed 600 likely voters from across Illinois on Feb. 28 and March 1. Sixty-four percent of those surveyed self-identified as either moderate or liberal, and 42 percent described themselves as Democrats. The poll has a 4 percent margin of error.

Key findings from the poll:

  • 80 percent of Illinoisans surveyed supported spending cuts as a vehicle to balance the state budget; more than half of Illinoisans said spending cuts should be the only tool used to close the budget deficit.
  • 7 percent of Illinoisans surveyed said the state should raise taxes without cutting spending.
  • 70 percent of respondents said property taxes are too high; only 2 percent of respondents said property taxes are too low.
  • 60 percent of Illinoisans surveyed ranked state income taxes as too high.
  • 81 percent of Illinoisans said the state is headed on the “wrong track.”

The complete survey results are available here: https://illin.is/budgetpoll