Lowman S. Henry
Chairman

Robert W. Keibler
Vice Chairman

Jane R. Gordon
Secretary/Treasurer

Board Members

Jerry Bowyer
Allegheny Institute

James Canova
Canova Electric

LeGree S. Daniels
U.S. Postal Governor

Joseph Geiger
PA Assoc. of Non
Profit Organizations

Hilary Holste
PPG Industries

Charles L. Huston, III
Huston Foundation

Doris O'Donnell
Allegheny Foundation

Albert Paschall
King of Prussia
Chamber of Commerce

James Trammell
Sun Company, Inc.

__________

Survey Consultant
Albert E. Sindlinger
Sindlinger & Company

Focus Group Moderator
Charles L. Kennedy
Penn State University
__________

October 22, 1997

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Lowman S. Henry / (717) 671-0776


SW PA VOTERS REJECTING SALES TAX INCREASE

Initiative to Fund Stadium Construction Behind by a Large Margin

     Harrisburg (PA) -- Voters in eleven southwestern Pennsylvania counties are rejecting by nearly a three-to-one margin a proposal to raise state sales taxes in the region by one half of a percent to help fund construction of new sports stadiums and other regional facilities.       The survey, conducted October 15th & 16th by the Harrisburg-based Lincoln Institute of Public Opinion Research found 64% of the voters surveyed planned to vote against the proposed sales tax increase while only 22% planned to vote in support of initiative which will appear on the November 4th General Election ballot.
     "Opposition to the proposal is especially strong outside of Allegheny County where 71% of the voters surveyed said they will be voting 'no' on election day," said Lowman S. Henry, Chairman of the Lincoln Institute. "Only 15% of voters in the ten counties outside of Allegheny indicated support for the measure. Allegheny County voters are rejecting the measure by a 57% to 28% margin."
     Henry added the issue cuts across party lines, with 65% of both Democrats and Republicans surveyed saying they oppose the tax. Opposition to the tax increase was particularly strong among those in the 55-64 age demographic with 77% of voters in that category voicing their opposition.

Other key findings:

     * Ninety-six percent of those surveyed were aware of the fact that they will be asked to vote on the issue in the upcoming General Election.

     * The appointment of a non-elected regional authority to control potential tax revenue collected from the regional sales tax was opposed by 45% of survey respondents. Twenty-eight percent favor such an authority while 27% offered no opinion.

     * Very few voters believe the tax, if adopted, will be temporary. A total of 82% of the voters in the eleven-county region expect the tax will be permanent, while 14% believe the tax will be temporary.

     * A plurality (43%) of survey respondents say they don't think the Pirates baseball team will move from Pittsburgh if a new baseball-only stadium is not built. Thirty-one percent think the failure to build a new stadium will result in the Pirates moving to another city, while 26% declined to give an opinion.

     * Only 15% of voters surveyed say they think the Steelers football franchise will move to another city if a new stadium is not built to replace Three Rivers Stadium. Sixty-seven percent expect the Steelers to stay in Pittsburgh whether or not a new stadium is built.

     * Governor Ridge's proposal to sell state liquor stores to private enterprise and then use the proceeds to construct new sports stadiums received support from just 37% of the voters surveyed by the Lincoln Institute. A majority of 52% opposed the idea.

     "Basically what this issue comes down to is that voters do not think sports stadiums should be financed with public money," Henry explained. "A total of 79% of those surveyed told the Lincoln Institute that new sports stadiums should be paid for with private dollars. Only 9% support public financing of such facilities."
     On another tax issue which will appear on the November 4th ballot, 43% of the voters in the eleven-county southwestern Pennsylvania region say they will vote to approve the so-called "Homestead Amendment" to the state constitution. The proposed amendment would allow business and residential properties to be taxed at different rates. Twenty-four percent said they oppose approval of the amendment. A significant percentage of voters, 33%, remain undecided on the issue.
     The Lincoln Institute of Public Opinion Research, Inc. is a non-profit educational foundation based in Harrisburg, PA. The Lincoln Institute's survey of voters in the eleven-county southwestern Pennsylvania region was conducted on October 15 and October 16, 1997 by Precision Marketing of Easton. A total of 336 voters were surveyed giving the survey a margin of error of plus or minus three percent.