Poll: Philadelphians Increasingly Concerned About Overall Local Tax Burden but Willing to Pay More for Better Services

Feb 28, 2012

A new public opinion poll commissioned by The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Philadelphia Research Initiative finds that Philadelphians are increasingly concerned about the overall local tax burden but many residents are willing to pay more in return for better services.

The poll also finds that Philadelphians favor the idea of commercial advertising at City Hall and other municipal properties in order to raise revenue, 56 percent to 34 percent, but are cool to taxing sugary drinks, with 46 percent in favor and 49 percent opposed.

As for the overall tax burden, 70 percent of residents call high taxes a “somewhat serious” or “very serious” problem in their neighborhoods, an increase from 62 percent last year and 55 percent in 2010. Fifty-four percent say they pay too much for the level of city services they receive, compared with 39 percent who feel they get their “money’s worth” or a “good deal” for their tax dollars.

Even so, 49 percent say they would prefer to pay higher taxes for more city services as opposed to 42 percent who prefer lower taxes and fewer services. Residents were evenly split on this question in polls conducted the past three years.

The telephone survey was conducted between January 4 and January 19, 2012 among a citywide random sample of 1,600 residents age 18 and older. The three previous benchmark surveys were taken in January 2009, January 2010 and February 2011.

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