In an effort to balance the federal budget, a majority of Utahns want only two federal programs cut - military spending and foreign aid, the latest Deseret News/KSL-TV poll shows.
Combine those program reductions with the few taxes Utahns want raised to balance the budget - an oil import fee, liquor, cigarette and luxury taxes - and you can see the political bind federal lawmakers and President Bush face in their attempt to reduce the deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars.In a survey conducted by Dan Jones & Associates several weeks ago, 66 percent of Utahns said they favor cutting defense spending in an effort to balance the federal budget - whose deficit is running at more than $150 billion a year.
Members of Congress and Bush are trying to work out a compromise, tax hikes here, program cuts there, to come up with a $40 billion reduction in the budget for fiscal 1990-91, which started Oct. 1, and $500 billion in deficit reductions over the next four years.
Given 10 categories of budget reductions, a majority of Utahns only agreed with two - defense and foreign aid.
Forty-six percent said cut farm subsidies, but 50 percent said no. Forty-eight percent said cut parks and recreation budgets, but 49 percent said no.
The other areas weren't even close. Seventy-one percent said social service programs shouldn't be cut, and 90 percent said Social Security shouldn't be cut. Seventy-nine percent said don't cut health programs, 89 percent said don't cut educational programs, 59 percent said don't cut environmental funding, and 79 percent don't want Medicare benefits trimmed.
In fact, two of the main parts of Bush's package - a gasoline tax increase and a cut in Medicare funding - are opposed by Utahns, Jones found.
Some kind of luxury tax is still being discussed in Washington, D.C., and Jones found that 70 percent of Utahns favor such a tax to raise money for the deficit.
Utahns hate the idea of raising the general income tax - 82 percent oppose that.
Federal politicians say it is almost impossible to fight the growing deficit because constituents back home won't stand for any tax increases and don't want programs cut, either. Those in the Utah delegation who supported Bush's original budget package, which has since failed, said they did so reluctantly - not liking the tax hikes or the program cuts, but forced into doing something in an effort to keep the federal government - and indirectly the American economy - going.
Which, if any, of the following programs would you cut in an effort to help balance the federal budget:
Yes No Don't Know
Social Services 26% 71% 3%
Social Security payments 9% 90% 1%
Military spending 66% 32% 2%
Health 18% 79% 3%
Education 10% 89% 1%
Foreign Aid 89% 9% 2%
Environment 36% 59% 5%
Medicare payment increase 18% 79% 3%
Farm support programs 46% 50% 5%
Parks and recreation 48% 49% 2%
Other (specify) 8% 21% 71%
Copyright Deseret News 1990