New Poll Shows Georgians Support People-First Policies

GBPI launched People-Powered Prosperity (PPP) in 2018 with a foundational research report that laid out policies Georgia lawmakers could implement to help everyone across the state thrive, as well as how the state could responsibly pay for programs and services that fully support Georgians. The report focused on four key concepts: educated youth, a strong workforce, thriving families and healthy communities.

We’ve partnered with 9to5 Georgia, Faith in Public Life and Small Business Majority to advance these priorities. We saw several PPP priorities pass through the Legislature during the 2020 session, including a Medicaid extension for new mothers to 6 months and child care subsidies going to student parents seeking a bachelor’s degree. The PPP Campaign continues to advocate for policies and solutions to improve outcomes for every Georgian.

GBPI decided this year to poll Georgians to gauge their sentiments on public policies that put people first. That includes increasing funding for critical programs and services like education and health care, as well as reevaluating the billions of dollars in tax breaks Georgia gives out to corporations every year. The results  of our polling  show Georgians want the state to invest in people and policies that help every community in our state thrive.

Poll highlights include:

  • Overwhelming support for increased funding for education
    • The highest support among all poll questions (86.8 percent) came for more funding for Georgia’s pre-K program to increase the amount of slots available for children
    • 82.1 percent of Georgians polled support providing additional funding for schools that serve a higher percentage of students living in poverty
  • Strong support for making college more accessible, as well as increasing opportunities for nontraditional students
    • Nearly 3 out of every 4 Georgians polled support the state providing tuition-free technical college
    • At 76.7 percent, Georgians also widely support increased funding for adult education, English as a second language courses and skills-training programs
  • 71.3 percent of Georgians support creating a state-level Earned Income Tax Credit, which would help reduce the amount of income tax low- and middle-income Georgians owe and help them save
  • 85.9 percent of Georgians polled said they support expanding scope of practice to allow nurse practitioners and physician assistants to provide more primary care services for patients
  • 68.7 percent of Georgians support for a formal review process to examine the return on investment for the more than $9 billion in tax exemptions the state provides to companies each year

See full results below:

Question 1: Studies show quality pre-K education results in reading gains and skills critical for success in school. Do you support or oppose increasing funding for more slots in Georgia’s pre-K program?

Question 2: Georgia is one of only eight states that does not provide additional money to K-12 public schools that serve students from low-income families. Do you support or oppose providing additional funding for schools to assist students from low-income families?

Question 3: Allowing nurse practitioners and physician assistants to perform their full range of services without restrictions can help expand primary care options in underserved communities. Do you support or oppose allowing nurse practitioners and physician assistants to provide additional primary care services for patients?

Question 4: The Georgia Department of Public Health currently spends $5 less per state resident than it did in 2012. Do you support or oppose increasing spending in the area of public health prevention programs and services such as those related to chronic disease prevention, maternal and infant mortality, and HIV/AIDS?

Question 5: To access some safety net programs like food stamps, participants must fulfill work reporting requirements. Some program recipients may have other responsibilities, such as caregiving, that limit their availability to find work. Do you support or oppose eliminating work requirements to allow greater access to such programs?

Question 6: The Childcare and Parent Services Scholarship helps families with the cost of child care while parents/guardians work, go to school, or participate in other work-related activities. This program currently serves about 13% of children under the age of 13 in low-income families. Do you support or oppose increasing state spending in the Childcare and Parent Services Scholarship program?

Question 7: The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a federal benefit that reduces the amount of income tax owed by low to middle-income tax filers. Thirty states have created their own versions of the EITC to further reduce the amount of income tax low and middle-income residents pay. Do you support or oppose creating a state-level Earned Income Tax Credit for Georgians?

Question 8: Technical colleges train students for jobs in industries such as manufacturing, health care, information technology, transportation, and logistics. Do you support or oppose providing technical college programs tuition-free in Georgia?

Question 9: The HOPE and Zell Miller scholarships are awarded based on merit rather than financial need. In 2018 Georgia created a need-based financial aid scholarship, but this program has yet to be funded. Do you support or oppose funding this need-based aid scholarship for college students?

Question 10: The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented levels of unemployment in Georgia. Do you support or oppose increased funding for adult education, including GED programs, English as a second language courses, and skills-training programs for workers who need to retrain for a changing economy?

Question 11: Georgia currently has no formal review process to evaluate the return on investment for over $9 billion in tax exemptions that the state gives out annually. Do you support or oppose evaluating the costs and benefits of these tax exemptions on an annual basis?

Question 12: Georgia has the second-lowest tobacco tax in the country. In the past year, Georgia spent more than $650 million in Medicaid costs related to smoking, but only collected $230 million in cigarette tax revenue. Do you support or oppose increasing the state’s 37 cent tobacco tax to the national average of $1.81 per pack of cigarettes?

Question 13: This year Georgia passed measures to apply sales tax to rideshare services like Uber and marketplace facilitators such as eBay and Etsy. Some online purchases like eBooks, software, and digital downloads are not taxed. Do you support or oppose a state sales tax for all online purchases of goods and services?

Question 14: Each year the state of Georgia provides over $500 million in tax credits to film companies. About $80 million goes to companies based in Georgia. Companies are given the same incentive whether they hire workers from in or out of state. Do you support or oppose setting a $100 million annual cap on state film tax credits?

Question 15: This year Georgia is projected to grant $3.5 billion in tax exemptions specifically to manufacturing companies. Some argue that these tax exemptions are necessary to attract and keep manufacturing companies in Georgia. Others argue that in granting exemptions, the state is losing out on a potential source of revenue to fund state priorities. Should lawmakers pass legislation to reduce the amount of tax exemptions offered to these companies?

This poll was conducted from Aug. 26-31, 2020, and included a total of 1,071 (unweighted) registered voters in Georgia. The survey was administered by the School of Public and International Affairs Survey Research Center at the University of Georgia. Interviews were conducted in English. Respondents were sent an electronic invitation allowing them to voluntarily opt-in and participate in the survey. Respondents who reported they did not currently live in Georgia or who were not registered to vote in the state were screened out. The survey results were weighted using iterative proportional raking in order to ensure the sample was representative of the registrant population in terms of race, sex, age, and education.

See the full poll results here.

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