Working in conjunction with the Commonwealth Foundation, which has produced a number of policy papers on school district tax reform, the Lincoln Institute has completed a Pulse Poll of voters in the Central Dauphin School District (suburban Harrisburg), which is one of five school districts in Pennsylvania to have placed a tax reform option before voters in referenda to be held as part of the November 2, 1999 General Election.

     Central Dauphin’s proposed tax reform would decrease property taxes, eliminate per-capita and occupational privilege taxes, and replace them with earned income tax revenue.  It would also give voters the right to approve future major taxes through a “back end” referendum.  Such a referendum would have to be held to give approval to any tax increase which exceeds the average statewide wage increase rate in any given year.

The PULSE POLL RESULTS:

1.) Are you aware that there will be a question on the November ballot asking whether or not to adopt an    alternate system of taxation for the Central Dauphin School District?

 48%  AWARE
48%  UNAWARE
04%  DON’T KNOW

2.) Do you think the Central Dauphin School District should adopt an alternate system of taxation that would decrease property values, repeal the per-capita and occupational privilege taxes, and replace that revenue with increased earned income taxes?

45%    YES
19%    NO
36%    UNDECIDED

3.) Would you be MORE LIKELY or LESS LIKELY to vote for an alternative system of taxes if such a system made it MANDATORY that future increases in property taxes be approved by voters in a voter referendum?

66%    MORE LIKELY
09%    LESS LIKELY
03%    NO IMPACT
22%    UNDECIDED

4.) Would you be MORE LIKELY or LESS LIKELY to vote for an alternative system of taxes IF such a system limited the school board’s ability to raise taxes in a subsequent year to the average increase of taxpayer wages?

50%    MORE LIKELY
21%    LESS LIKELY
05%    NO IMPACT
24%    UNDECIDED

5.) How would you rate the quality of education received by students in the Central Dauphin School District?

09%    EXCELLENT
45%    GOOD
22%    FAIR
05%    POOR
19%    UNDECIDED

     The Pulse Poll was conducted for the Lincoln Institute by Susquehanna Polling & Research on October 13 and 14, 1999.  A total of 245 likely voters were surveyed.  Twenty-five percent of the respondents currently have children in their household attending Central Dauphin Schools.  The party registration of the survey sample matched the district’s registration at 60% Republican, 32% Democrat, and 4% Independent.