June 7, 2011
Bill Shapard

Majority of likely Oklahoma voters think the average tax burden is too high

A SoonerPoll conducted in May reveals that 54.4 percent of likely Oklahoma voters think the current tax burden is too high. By comparison, 32.6 percent of respondents said they think the tax burden is about right and only 3.3 percent of respondents said the tax burden is too low.

Respondents were read the following question: �According to the Tax Foundation, the average Oklahoman worked from January 1 until April 2, 2011 to earn enough money to pay this year's tax obligations at the federal, state and local levels. That�s a total tax burden of roughly 25 percent. Do you think this tax burden is too low, too high, or just about right?�

�These results demonstrate that a majority of Oklahoma voters are rightly concerned with the amount of effort that the average taxpayer has to expend to fund government,� Jonathan Small, CPA and OCPA fiscal policy director, said.� �Oklahoma families are experiencing rising costs in order to purchase essentials such as gasoline, food, clothing and health care. Yet despite a recession, state government spending continues to climb, reaching an all-time high of $16.6 billion in Fiscal Year-2010.�

OCPA's Brandon Dutcher on Taxes
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs President Michael Carnuccio asks the Vice President for Policy Brandon Dutcher for his take on the latest SoonerPoll results concerning taxes.

When broken down by political party, the results reveal a similar �too low� response rate from Republican and Democratic respondents as 3.4 and 3.6 percent respectively answering �too low.� However, results also indicate that Republicans are 11.4 percentage points more likely to think the tax burden is too high while Democrats are 8.8 percentage points more likely to say �just about right.�

On the same poll, respondents were asked the following open?ended question: �In your view, what is the maximum tax burden (federal, state, and local combined) a citizen should be required to shoulder?�

Results show that 53.3 percent of respondents indicated a percentage less than 25 percent, the number which was described in the preceding question as the percentage that the �average Oklahoman� pays each year.

According to the poll, 18.5 percent of respondents preferred a tax burden of 10 percent, while 17.7 percent preferred 15 percent. Results reveal that 17.9 percent of likely voters polled chose a response between 25 and 40 percent.

�Unfortunately, the politics of envy have historically been what have determined tax burdens,� Small said. �Policymakers need to ask a fundamental question: What portion of a person�s income � his property � should we take from him to fund government? And before we answer that question it might be wise to take a lesson from God himself, who somehow thought it was reasonable to take only 10 percent.�

Data also revealed that 1.2 percent said it depends on the taxpayers income, 0.4 percent said it should remain what it is now, while 2.4 percent indicated their support for a fair tax or flat tax system. Another 22.2 percent had no opinion., Oklahoma�s public opinion pollster, was commissioned for this poll by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs. conducted the scientific study using live interviewers by telephone of 509 likely voters from May 2 � 12. The study has a margin of error of � 4.34 percent.

Bill Shapard
About the Author

Bill Shapard

Bill is the founder of and ShapardResearch, a full service market research firm based in Oklahoma City. Bill began his career in polling after working on a major campaign in Oklahoma from 1996 until founding SoonerPoll in 2004.