February 23, 2023
New Poll: 80% of Virginia Voters Believe Profitable Corporations and the Wealthy Do Not Pay Enough in Taxes
62% of VA Voters believe lawmakers should not cut taxes, because cuts would harm the quality of state services, make Virginia less competitive
The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis and Data for Progress released new data today showing that 80% of Virginians overwhelmingly believe that the wealthy and profitable corporations are not paying enough in taxes. The new data comes as Virginia lawmakers are negotiating budget proposals, which have either tax cuts for profitable corporations or education funding as the centerpiece. Overall, the governor and the House of Delegates are proposing $1 billion in tax cuts that would primarily benefit profitable corporations, businesses, and wealthy individuals.
Data shows that voters in every region and county across the commonwealth believe that profitable corporations and the wealthy are not paying enough in taxes, including:
- Southwest: 74%
- Shenandoah Valley: 75%
- Northern Virginia: 83%
- Richmond-Petersburg: 78%
- Hampton Roads: 82%
- Eastern Shore: 80%
Data for all regions, counties, and independent cities is available.
“These results should inform Virginia lawmakers as they continue to debate and hopefully finalize a budget that prioritizes families over large, profitable corporations and wealthy individuals,” said Rodrigo Soto, who leads The Commonwealth Institute’s tax fairness campaigns. “The tax proposals being considered by legislators are costly and untargeted, and don’t leave a lot of resources to make historic investments we know need to be made in education, health care, compensation, and so much more.”
Lowering the tax rate for profitable corporations from 6% to 5% would cost $360 million in this budget and over $680 million in the next budget cycle. And reducing the top individual income tax bracket from 5.75% to 5.5% would cost $333 million in this budget and balloon to $1.47 billion in the next budget cycle, with higher-income individuals seeing the greatest benefit.
The poll also shows that a majority (62%) believe state lawmakers should not cut taxes because it would decrease the quality of the services the state provides and make Virginia less competitive. While the governor and House of Delegates include significant tax cuts in their budget proposals, they provide little in the way of funding for improvements for Virginia’s public schools. This is despite decades of underfunding public education, causing challenges that were exacerbated by the pandemic, including teacher shortages and barriers to academic achievement. On the other hand, the Senate does not include costly tax cuts and invests an additional $1 billion in education compared to the current budget.
Other key findings from the poll:
- 62% of voters in Virginia support state lawmakers spending more to address racial disparities
- 82% of voters in Virginia believe corporations who avoid paying taxes need to be held accountable.
- 83% of voters believe state lawmakers should prioritize funding and access to public programs — like Medicaid and food assistance — in Virginia to provide a foundation for low-to-moderate-income parents who are struggling to make ends meet
“Prioritizing a budget that puts families ahead of corporations would be in line with what Virginians support,” said Soto. “In addition to making much-needed investments, lawmakers should consider smart, targeted tax policies, such as making the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit refundable at 20% to help families with low incomes make ends meet in light of rising costs.”
You can find a detailed memo from Data for Progress here and a slide deck here. A recording of today’s briefing is available here.