One-quarter of Arkansans want to change court, not education

(August 13, 2003) — (Little Rock-AP) -- A poll says a little more than one-third of Arkansans favor raising taxes to pay for court-ordered education reforms. The poll was commissioned by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper and canvassed 500 Arkansas voters. The voters were chosen at random. The poll found that 36-point-three percent say raising taxes is the best way to respond to a state Supreme Court ruling that Arkansas' public education system is unconstitutional. The poll also shows that 27-point-one percent want to ignore the court, change the state constitution so that the state doesn't have to offer an adequate education to its public school children or impeach the Supreme Court justices. Governor Huckabee and legislators are trying to find a way to comply with the court order. Huckabee says he will call a special session to address the issue if a consensus is reached beforehand. He also has talked of letting voters decide in a ballot initiative. The poll showed that nearly a quarter of respondents don't have a preferred solution for reforming education. ----- The poll showed that support for a tax increase for education gradually rises with the amount of education the respondents have: -- Of high school dropouts, 25-point-seven percent supported a tax increase. -- Among High school graduates, 28-point-two percent support a tax increase. -- Of Arkansans who have taken some college courses, 35 percent support a tax increase. -- Among college graduates, 45-point-six percent support a tax increase. The poll also showed that support for tax increases drops the older the respondent was: -- For ages 18-to-29, 58-point-seven percent support a tax increase. -- For ages 30-to-49, 36-point-seven percent support a tax increase. -- For ages 50-to-64, 34-point-four percent support a tax increase. -- Among ages 65 and older, 29-point-four percent support a tax increase.