The ElderCare Alliance included a question in the statewide Elway Poll conducted last week with regard to the new proposal to repeal a set of tax breaks and use the money generated to fund the Basic Health Care Program. The question describes the plan contained in House Bill 1847 introduced by Rep. Cody and twenty two others. The question, methodology and complete results are attached.
Top line results are that 61% of respondents support the proposal, 28% are opposed, and 11% are undecided.
Support was strong in ALL parts of the state, the lowest level of support is in Eastern Washington where 55% are in support, 30% are opposed, and 15% are undecided.
There is 2 to 1 support in ALL age groups.
Democrats are in support by an 8 to 1 ratio.
Independents are in support by 63% to 26%.
The only group opposed are Republicans, with 42% in support and 46% opposed.
This proposal (HB 1847) is important for two reasons. First, it provides a means to retain the Basic Health Care Program that is vital to working people, and to older people who are not yet eligible for Medicare. Second, this is the first proposal that asks lawmakers to look at the relative worth of a set of existing tax breaks AS COMPARED to the value of an existing state service.
Thus far in the Olympia Budget discussions, only service cuts have been on the table. If EVERYTHING needs to on the table, then current tax breaks need to be considered. All expenditures, whether for services or for tax breaks need to be examined with equal scrutiny and at the same time. Estimates vary on the amount that would be generated by enacting HB 1847. The best current estimate is $145 million. The poll question used an earlier estimate of $250 million.
The poll results reported here are just the latest in a series of polls that clearly indicate that the "message" of the voters in November was much more complicated than the simplified ''all cuts" mantra that has dominated the budget debate so far.
Perhaps voters perceive "tax breaks" as part the "waste and abuse" category that need to be reined in instead of further cuts to state services. Perhaps voters believe that it should not be impossible to garner the required two thirds legislative majority in order to retain services that may be more important that tax breaks enacted at a time when state revenues were not so scarce.
Please share this information with your networks and ask people to call the Legislative Hotline at 1 800 562 6000 and urge to legislators to SUPPORT HB 1847 AND REQUEST THAT THE BILL BE GIVEN AN EARLY HEARING.
Best regards. Jerry Reilly, Chair ElderCare Alliance 360 561 4212
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