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Arizona Voters’ Agenda: Voters Believe Tax Burden is Low and Prefer Investing Surplus in Critical Infrastructure Over Cutting Taxes

Big Question for Candidates: “What do you think the state should do with the growing surplus?”

Posted on June 15, 2022 • Category: News Release

Following the successful launch of the education issues important to voters earlier this week, Center for the Future of Arizona (CFA) today released its economic and inflation findings as part of their ongoing reveal of the Arizona Voters’ Agenda, which identifies what likely voters in the general election want to hear about from candidates as they campaign for their votes.

The survey findings demonstrate that voters care the most about supporting Arizona's long-term economic growth, increasing job creation and business investment, and addressing inflation. They also believe that our relative tax burden is low and would prefer to invest surplus money rather than cutting taxes.

“Education and our long-term economic growth are inextricably linked. So, it was only natural to release our economic findings the same week as our education results,” explained Dr. Sybil Francis, President & CEO of CFA. “Our research shows that voters care about our long-term economic growth and understand the relationship between robust funding for education and our state’s future prosperity – not only do they want to invest in education, but they would also prefer increased investment over cutting taxes.”

In all, 82% of likely voters agreed with the following statement, “Economists forecast Arizona will have a $4 billion budget surplus over the next three years. Instead of continuing to cut taxes, we should be increasing funding for education, public safety, roads, and other critical investments that will boost our long-term economic growth.” Support included 70% of Republicans, 93% of independent/unaffiliated voters, and 95% of Democrats.

A sizable 84% of the electorate also believes, “When you compare Arizona to other states across the country, our tax burden is relatively low. Everyone should pay their fair share of taxes to ensure that the state can continue to meet its core obligations.” This statement is supported by 78% of Republicans, 90% of independent/unaffiliated voters, and 92% of Democrats.

“When it comes to the future of Arizona’s economy, voters prioritize investment in education, public safety, and other essential needs while ensuring taxpayers are contributing their fair share,” said Dr. Francis, “While most people generally support lower taxes, candidates should take note reducing state income taxes is not among the highest priorities for Arizona voters and did not qualify for inclusion in the Arizona Voters’ Agenda.”

To be included on the Arizona Voters’ Agenda, a majority of all likely voters must “strongly support” the issue, and majorities of every political and age segment must “strongly or somewhat” support the issue. This methodology ensures the Agenda reflects the views of the electorate that cuts across age and party lines, making the topics essential to the Primary and General Elections.

The top economic issue on the Arizona Voters’ Agenda is “Supporting Arizona's long-term economic growth,” a topic that is supported by 95% of likely voters, including 95% among Republicans, 98% independents/unaffiliated, and 95% Democrats.

The other two highest rated items tested were “Increasing job creation and business investment” and “Addressing inflation,” both of which came in with 92% support.

Voters also shared concerns about “Addressing rising costs,” with 88% of respondents supporting the issue. “Increasing housing affordability” also earned support from 88% of all voters. Rounding out the priorities was “Reducing gas prices” which received 87% total support.

“Arizona has had a lot of economic success in the past few years and is now sitting on a multi-billion-dollar surplus. Voters want to hear from candidates about their economic plans for investment, growth, job creation, inflation, housing costs, and gas prices,” stated Dr. Francis, “This is an excellent opportunity for candidates to speak to these top priorities that are overwhelmingly supported by large majorities of all voters. These issues not only cross all party and age lines – they transcend them.”

As previously noted, the Arizona Voters’ Agenda survey covered a wide array of issues and topics, and it’s important to note that some did not make the list of priorities for Arizonans. While it has been a significant topic of discussion in the State of Arizona over the past few years, the survey also revealed that most voters DID NOT rank ‘reducing income taxes’ highly compared to other economic priorities. Tax cuts did not achieve the “strong support” of voters overall or the across-the-board partisan support necessary to be included in the Arizona Voters’ Agenda.

“On the topic of the economy, voters want to see the big picture from their candidates. Short cuts, quick answers and catch-all polarizing rhetoric surrounding tax cuts will not cut it with this general electorate,” concluded Dr. Francis.

When it comes to the economy, the Arizona Voters’ Agenda points to essential questions for moderators, citizens, voters, and others to ask candidates as they are competing for votes. Begin with at least one big question based on the data showing where Arizonans have the strong agreement: “What do you think the state should do with the growing surplus?”

 

About the Arizona Voters’ Agenda
CFA is focused on bringing Arizonans together around a positive agenda based on where they agree on priorities to move the state forward and realize The Arizona We Want. The Arizona Voters’ Agenda was launched as an extension of CFA’s survey research efforts to identify and create The Arizona We Want.

CFA has analyzed the statewide survey data to determine which issues make the cut for the Arizona Voters’ Agenda based on:

  • a primary threshold, the number of likely voters that “strongly agree/support” is 50% and above,
  • and a second threshold of the sum of “somewhat agree/support” and “strongly agree/support” (i.e., Total Support/Agree) is 50% and above among every political party (Republican, Independent/Undecided/Other, and Democrat) and age group (20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-64, 65+).

 

The Arizona Voters’ Agenda – Economy

Policy Items

Strongly Support

Total Support

Supporting Arizona's long-term economic growth.

76%

95%

Addressing inflation.

75%

92%

Addressing rising costs.

69%

88%

Reducing gas prices.

69%

87%

 

Increasing housing affordability.

68%

88%

Increasing job creation and business investment.

67%

92%

 

Value Statements

Strongly Agree

Total Agree

Economists forecast Arizona will have a $4 billion budget surplus over the next three years. Instead of continuing to cut taxes, we should be increasing funding for education, public safety, roads, and other critical investments that will boost our long-term economic growth.

54%

82%

When you compare Arizona to other states across the country, our tax burden is relatively low. Everyone should pay their fair share of taxes to ensure that the state can continue to meet its core obligations.

51%

84%

Political and age group breakdowns are available at ArizonaFuture.org/ArizonaVotersAgenda.

 

About the Survey
The N=500 survey was conducted among likely voters from April 12 through 19, 2022. The poll surveyed likely Arizona 2022 General Election voters who have a history of electoral participation and was balanced to model the likely turnout of voters across party, age, region, and gender. The live interview survey of voters was conducted in English and Spanish by HighGround Public Affairs to landline and cell phone users. Based on previous midterm election trends, the partisan advantage was set at +8% GOP. The margin of error is ±4.3%.

Survey Demographics

Survey Demographics

The Arizona Voters’ Agenda initiative is supported in part by Arizona Community Foundation, Helios Education Foundation, Pharos Foundation, Rodel Foundation of Arizona, Thomas R. Brown Family Foundation, and Southern Arizona Leadership Council. CFA also coordinated with Education Forward Arizona, who conducted an additional poll to gain deeper insights into likely Arizona voters’ priorities on education. The findings are available at educationforwardarizona.org.

 

About Center for the Future of Arizona
Center for the Future of Arizona (CFA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that brings Arizonans together to create a stronger and brighter future for our state. All of CFA’s work is to ensure that the public values Arizonans share are realized for all by shaping and advancing The Arizona We Want–a shared vision of success where all Arizonans, now and in the future, thrive and enjoy sustained prosperity, unmatched quality of life, and real opportunity. Learn more at arizonafuture.org.