Poll: California Warming to Wisconsin-Style Reforms

California voters, tired of the state’s tax increases, are increasingly leaning toward Wisconsin-like reforms that encourage austerity. California's Proposition 30 and Proposition 32, two propositions that raise taxes (Update: Prop 32 does not raise taxes but restricts unions' ability to use dues to fund political campaigns), are too close to call, according to a new Reason-Rupe statewide poll.

Adjusted for inflation, California’s government spending rose 42 percent per capita from 2000 to 2010, but only 14 percent of likely voters believe that the rise in spending improved the quality of life in the state. 52 percent say the state spending so much actually decreased the quality of life. Now, 56 percent of Californians favor cutting state government spending to what was spent per capita in 2000.

Even though the poll sampled 44 percent Democrats and only 26 percent Republicans and 24 percent independents, a whopping 62 percent of those polled support reducing the number of state government employees.

59 percent said government regulations often do more harm than good. 65 percent believe the state’s laws and regulations make it more likely that businesses will pick up and move to other states. 77 percent say they want government workers to pay more for their own health care and retirement benefits.

California is teetering on the edge of the financial cliff. The question is: will the growing awareness of the virtues of austerity be too little, too late? And if the public wises up, will they throw out the Democratic legislature that’s been responsible?


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