Survey shows widespread misperceptions about Louisiana’s income, sales and gas tax rates

2065

BATON ROUGE – Researchers in the Public Policy Research Lab at LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication found many Louisianans incorrectly believe the state income tax rate has increased in recent years (even though it has not). Researchers also found Louisiana residents have misperceptions of the state’s sales and gasoline tax rates.

This data comes from the second of six reports from the Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs’ 2019 Louisiana Survey, which reveals that half of Louisiana residents think the state’s sales tax is too high. Additionally, 65 percent of survey respondents prefer a mixed approach of increased spending and tax reductions if it looks like tax revenue will exceed the amount needed for the state to pay for its current expenditures.

The Louisiana Survey is aimed at revealing how people from all areas of the state view Louisiana government and its policies. The survey, conducted by PPRL interviewers between Feb. 15 and March 7, polled 917 Louisianans age 18 or older from across the state. The total sample has a margin of error of +/- 4.6 percentage points.

Additional findings from the second of six reports shows:

  • Substantial numbers of state residents incorrectly believe that Louisiana has increased its tax rates on individual and household incomes in recent years – 46 percent say these tax rates are higher than they were four years ago, and 32 percent say they are higher than one year ago.
  • Sixty percent of Louisiana residents correctly say that the state sales tax rate is higher than four years ago. However, 40 percent incorrectly believe that the state sales tax rate is higher than one year ago.
  • Today, 49 percent think the state’s sales tax is too high, up from 32 percent in early 2016. Likewise, the share of people who say the state’s income tax is too high is 15 percentage points higher than in 2016 (40 percent versus 25 percent).
  • Approximately two-thirds (65 percent) prefer a mixed approach of increased spending and tax reductions if it looks like tax revenue will exceed the amount needed for the state to pay for current expenditures. Nearly one-fourth (23 percent) favor solely increasing spending. Just eight percent only want tax cuts. Taken together, 88 percent of state residents want some degree of spending increases and 73 percent want some degree of tax reduction if there are recurring revenues in excess of current expenditures.
  • Two-thirds (67 percent) of Louisiana residents support a five cent per gallon increase to the state’s gasoline tax, but only 46 percent back a 20 cent per gallon increase.
  • Louisianans split nearly evenly between those who believe the combined state and federal gasoline tax is less than it actually is (31 percent), those who believe the tax is more than it actually is (34 percent), and those who do not know enough to guess (35 percent). The average response among those who offered a guess was 79 cents per gallon, more than twice the actual rate of 38.5 cents per gallon.

The Louisiana Survey has been conducted annually for the last 18 years (and twice in 2006), establishing rich longitudinal measures of public opinion in Louisiana. The survey is a project of the Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs, an integral part of the Manship School of Mass Communication. Read the full second report from the Louisiana Survey here: http://pprllsu.com/projects/