Texas Tech University Survey Finds Texans Willing to Pay More Taxes for Education, Stopping Illegal Immigration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: April 5, 2006
CONTACT: John Davis, john.w.davis@ttu.edu
742-2136

LUBBOCK – Texans will pay more taxes to maintain education and health care programs at current levels and to fund programs that prevent illegal immigration, but they want lawmakers to cut spending as well, according to a Texas Tech University statewide survey.

Those issues were three of many topics broached by a Texas citizens’ survey done by Texas Tech University’s Earl Survey Research Laboratory and political science students. The survey, conducted during the fall and spring semesters, queried citizens on issues such as redistricting, crime and legalizing gambling.

“Of what people selected as the most important issue, education ranks the highest,” said Dennis Patterson, associate professor of political science who conducted the survey’s statistical analysis. “The second most interesting thing is that 74 percent of the people are actually willing to raise sales taxes a quarter penny in order to maintain current levels for education and health care. This is a conservative state, but people are willing to pay for education and health care. I think that’s the message of that survey.”

This finding contrasts with the 72 percent of citizens who said the state should deal with budget problems by cutting spending rather than increasing revenues, Patterson said.

Illegal immigration also was an issue for many Texans, with 51.9 percent thinking that illegal immigration should be a high priority for lawmakers. A federal tax increase to fund programs geared toward preventing illegal immigration was acceptable to 52.4 percent.

The telephone survey was performed by students in the Department of Political Science’s Introduction to Political Analysis class. Students used experts at the Earl Survey Research Laboratory to help them develop and conduct the survey. Between 500 and 1,100 citizens were polled on various parts. The results are accurate within a three- to five-percent margin.

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Other statistics include:

• 80.3 percent of respondents indicate that education should be a high priority for the state’s lawmakers; 54.8 percent of respondents indicated that crime should be a high priority.

• 50.4 percent of Texans believe that the 2003 redistricting effort was fair.

• On the matter of illegal immigration, 51.3 percent of Texans believe that children of illegal immigrants should automatically receive U.S. citizenship.

• Texans support legalizing casino gambling to fund public education. 41.7 percent say they support such a proposal and 20.0 percent say they’d strongly support it.

• 75.8 percent of Texans strongly favor increasing sales taxes on cigarettes and liquor in order to maintain education and health care programs at current levels.

For more information on the survey, visit www.ttu.edu/~esrl.

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CONTACT: Dennis Patterson, assistant professor of political science, (806) 742-4081 or dennis.patterson@ttu.edu; Craig Goodman, assistant professor of political science, (806) 742-0167 or craig.goodman@ttu.edu; Brian Cannon, director of Earl Survey Research Laboratory, (806) 742-4851 or b.cannon@ttu.edu.