CLSI's Latest Poll Results
The results from AACC's Center for the Study of Local Issues latest survey are in, and they hint at the tension between higher taxes and better services that many residents in the County feel. The most important problems, in residents' eyes, remain growth (16%) and taxes (15%). As the survey's author, Dr. Dan Nataf says, "everybody is a liberal on spending and a conservative on taxes."
The spring 2007 data indicate that half of the 529 residents surveyed favored "a school system which is absolutely top quality regardless of the cost." However, in response to the recently proposed 17 percent increase in the county public school system's budget, only 25% said "fully fund this proposal by raising some county taxes." Twenty percent wanted to "fully fund this proposal by reducing other county services," while 43% wanted to have their cake and eat it too, desiring to "partially fund this proposal to the extent possible without increasing taxes or reducing other county services." How, exactly, that final option could even occur (massive assessment hikes?), is not entirely clear.
Among hot legislative topics in the news, a whopping majority of respondents want to ban roadside soliciting (76%), raise the cigarette tax to defray healthcare costs (72%), and ban smoking in all restaurants and bars (68%).
As has been discussed here previously, most County residents (61%) are "not very familiar" with the issue of "changing the method of selecting the Anne Arundel County school board." I suspect the percentage is actually far higher than that. Nevertheless, 20% of respondents are content to keep the existing system, 42% want an elected school board, and 40% favor a board "selected by citizens representing elected officials and other community groups such as the teachers' union and the chamber of commerce."
The damage to County government's political capital wreaked by the previous administration is still evident in the fact that a majority of respondents (52%) do not "trust the county to find the right balance between paying for these expenses and keeping taxes as low as possible?"