FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 20, 2011
CONTACTS:
Tanja Clendinen – tanja@jamesmadison.org – 850.386.3131.Poll Results Show Florida Voters Support Trimming Public Employee Benefits and Holding the Line on TaxesTALLAHASSEE  –  In partnership with the Manhattan Institute, The James Madison Institute today distributed national and Florida-specific polling data regarding voters’ opinions about public sector salaries and benefits, and reform of such benefits.Conducted by Douglas E. Schoen LLC, the national poll results revealed that there is:

Widespread bipartisan support for reforms that will pare back spending and not increase taxes;
Strong support for policies that cut state spending and reduce benefits for current and future public employees, but not those already retired, as well as a belief that public employees should contribute more towards their pensions;
Acknowledgement that the influence of unions needs to be curtailed in order for reforms to occur.

 The state-specific polling, based on responses from a representative sample of 400 registered voters in Florida with a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percent, disclosed that:

56% of respondents oppose paying more in taxes in order to maintain public employee benefits at their current levels;
53% of respondents oppose cutting services in order to maintain public employee benefits at their current levels—furthermore, 70% support renegotiating public employee contracts to reduce salaries and benefits when cities do not have the resources necessary to pay current/future pension obligations;
55% of respondents favor  moving public employees from defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans;
59% of respondents side with the Florida Legislature’s desire to have public employees contribute 3% of their salaries toward their pensions rather than with the Florida Education Association which has sued to block this action.

 “It is clear to all that our nation and our state are facing potentially long-term fiscal crises. Voters are demanding that elected officials address the underlying causes affecting our financial stability and will not be satisfied with taking the easy way out by raising taxes.” –Dr. Robert McClure, President of The James Madison InstituteFlorida-specific polling results available on-line at /library/doclib/GovtPensionReformPoll_SchoenAug11.pdf; full polling results available on-line at http://www.publicsectorinc.org/events/CSLL092011.html
The James Madison Institute is a nonpartisan, public policy research organization based in Florida.