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October 16, 2007

California voters would support tax to fund health insurance

A slim majority of California voters would support a one-cent sales tax increase to help fund health insurance, according to a survey by the Survey and Policy Research Institute at San Jose State University.

That might bode well for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger - if he decides to ask voters for such an increase to help pay for universal health care.

It's no secret that such a move was being considered - pushed by the California Restaurant Association and the California Small Business Association - but it appears the governor has decided instead to try and lease the state lottery and use money from that to help pay for his plan.

The survey showed that 52 percent of voters would approve, while 38 percent would vote against it.

The restaurant and small business associations like the sales tax proposal as a way to protect employers from payroll taxes, which will almost certainly be included in any proposal to provide universal health care.

The poll also showed that a majority of voters - 51 percent - would go along with a ballot measure that seeks to loosen term limits. But that's probably because the emphasis in the ballot summary is on shortening the amount of overall time a lawmaker can spend in office from 14 years to 12 years.

What's more difficult to explain is that the measure actually increases the overall time many lawmakers would spend in office, by allowing them to serve longer in either the Assembly or the Senate.

Perhaps the best evidence that voters believe the measure will reduce time in office is that it is supported most strongly by Republicans - 54 percent, compared to 49 percent of Democrats. Republicans traditionally advocate for limiting terms.

But the support for the measure also is slipping - across all party lines - down from 56 percent approval in a previous San Jose State poll.

The institute polled a random sample of 652 California adults Oct. 1-8 by telephone. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. The margin of error was plus or minus 4.9 percentage points among voters.

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Posted by healthinsurance at October 16, 2007 12:31 AM

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