Voters would support a tax rise, Arundel teachers union poll finds

March 12, 2004|By Laura Loh | Laura Loh,SUN STAFF

The Anne Arundel County teachers union released results yesterday of a recent survey showing that voters think education is a more pressing issue than the economy or the county's growth and, separately, would support a tax increase if needed.

The phone survey of 819 randomly selected Anne Arundel voters found that a majority favored a slightly higher income tax rate that would cost the average household an extra $75 a year. The tax-increase question was not specifically linked to education.

Officials with the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County said the survey, which was conducted in late January and last month, counters the notion held by many elected officials that voters oppose raising the income tax.

"We know that the citizenry is willing to bear a tax increase," teachers union President Sheila Finlayson said during a news conference at which she released a summary of the survey results.

The survey's 37 questions covered county education issues and Anne Arundel County government finances.

The results come two weeks after the Anne Arundel County Board of Education reduced the school system's funding request for the coming school year by $7.3 million in an effort to cooperate with cash-strapped county officials.

In response to questions about public schools, 52 percent rated the county's public education system as "good" or "excellent," and 95 percent agreed that the school system's top priority should be to attract and retain "the best teachers possible."

Sun staff writer Ryan Davis contributed to this article.

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