Though most Americans nationwide don’t believe their state will have to raise taxes on the middle class to pay all promised pension benefits to state workers, most would rather see a reduction in those benefits than pay higher taxes.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of American Adults shows, when given the choice, 56% would rather reduce promised benefits for public employees than pay higher taxes to ensure that all promised benefits are paid. Twenty-one percent (21%) would rather pay higher taxes than reduce public employee benefits. Another 23% aren’t sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Most recently, California’s Democratic Governor Jerry Brown proposed a pension reform plan that will raise the retirement age for state workers, among other things.
A sizable number of adults (37%) think their state will have to raise taxes on the middle class in order to pay all promised pension benefits. However, 25% do not think that’s the case and another 38% are not sure.
Overall, half of Americans (50%) believe it is at least somewhat likely that their states will be able to pay the pension benefits promised to state workers, but just 15% see this as Very Likely. Only 28% do not think it’s likely their state can pay all promised benefits while 23% are undecided.
Though three out of four Americans nationwide acknowledge that their state is in a budget crisis, they are evenly divided when it comes to immediately cutting the salaries of state workers.
Earlier polling found strong support for cutting the federal payroll by 10% over ten years. That approach could be accomplished by a combination of attrition and modest pay cuts.
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The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on October 27-28, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
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