FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Larry Dansinger, 525-7776
Lisa Savage, 399-7623
Mainers Want Tax Revenues Spent on Education, Health Care
MAINE – Education, health care, and veterans’ benefits were the top choices for federal spending among 1,552 Mainers, according to a “penny poll” conducted in each of Maine’s sixteen counties.
In the midst of debates in Washington DC about debt, budget cuts, and tax increases, a series of surveys were held throughout the state of Maine to get local responses to the issue. A “penny poll” was held in every Maine county asking participants, “How would you like your federal tax dollars spent?”
The results from over 1,500 participants in Maine diverge considerably from the actual spending by Congress, but were relatively consistent in different parts of the state.
Participants at shopping centers and post offices were given ten pennies, each representing ten percent of the money in income taxes that goes each year to the federal government. They were asked to put pennies in jars representing the ten largest parts of the federal government’s discretionary budget, the monies that Congress allocates each year. How many pennies participants put in each jar indicated where THEY wanted to see their tax dollars spent, not where the federal government currently spends tax money.
Results showed that education (21%), health care (19%) and veterans’ benefits (12%) were the top choices among the 1,552 people who participated. Those were followed by environment/science (11%), food/agriculture (9%), both transportation and interest on the national debt (7%), housing (6%), defense (5%), and general government (2%).
“What the public wants its tax money to go toward is very different from where Congress is actually spending it. Education, health care, veterans’ benefits, and the environment/science all received a lot more money than Congress actually spends for them,” stated Larry Dansinger, who compiled the figures. “Defense, including our current wars, nuclear and conventional weapons, wages for our armed forces, and homeland security, gets about 50% of the discretionary budget now, but in the survey that category got just under five percent.”
The penny polls, sponsored by the Bring Our War $$ Home campaign, were conducted by volunteers in a number of Maine towns during the months of May, June, and July. The polls were held at post offices, supermarkets, downtown areas, and other venues frequented by a broad cross section of the public.
“Congress is out of touch with the priorities of most people in this country,” said Lisa Savage, CODEPINK Maine Local Coordinator. “It’s time to stop pouring tax revenues into making weapons manufacturers even richer than they already are. The people know this, and they also know that their needs are not being represented in Washington DC.”
For more information on these polls, including individual poll by poll results and locations, contact Larry Dansinger, 525-7776 firstname.lastname@example.org or Lisa Savage, 399-7623.
GRAND TOTALS OF RESULTS FOR ALL 19 POLLS:
Defense 765 4.9%
Education 3239 21.1%
Environment/Science 1701 11.1%
Food/Agriculture 1409 9.2%
General Government 352 2.3%
Health Care 2909 18.9%
Housing/Urban Dev. 994 6.4%
Interest on Debt 1058 6.8%
Transportation 1094 7.1%
Veterans’ Benefits 1856 12.1%
Total Pennies: 15,377 1,552 people took the poll
(Apologies if these categories, numbers, and percentages do not format well.)