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