Public Consultation Finds Strong Bipartisan Support for Extending Employees’ Payroll Tax Cut
But Partisan Division on How to Pay for It
Modest Support for Employer’s Payroll Tax Cut
When a representative sample of Americans was presented a detailed explanation of the costs and potential benefits of extending the payroll tax cut for employees, including strongly stated arguments for and against the idea, 68% favored the idea. This included 65% of Republicans as well as 74% of Democrats.
There were, however, partisan divisions on how to pay for the tax cut. While overall 56% preferred a higher tax on earnings above $1 million, including three in four Democrats and a majority of independents supported a higher tax, three-fifths of Republicans preferred reducing the federal workforce and lengthening the freeze on its pay.
The study was conducted by the Program for Public Consultation, a joint program of the Center on Policy Attitudes and the School of Public Affairs at the University of Maryland. “Public consultation” seeks to reveal how the public responds when it hears the kind of information and arguments that policymakers hear when making decisions, thus eliciting a clearer presentation of the public’s values.
Respondents were told that extending the payroll tax cut for employees, and reducing it to 3.1%, would reduce projected government revenue by $175 billion for the year and that the Congressional Budget Office estimates that it would add 350,000 to 1,225,000 jobs.
Respondents were also presented and asked to evaluate pro and con arguments. The pro argument stated that “A payroll tax cut puts money in the pockets of people who are then spending it at businesses, large and small. That gives them more customers, increases demand, and it gives businesses a greater incentive to hire.” It was found convincing by 70%.