More Californians back tax hikes, poll finds

SAN FRANCISCO Thu Mar 27, 2008 1:12am EDT

Traffic passes downtown Los Angeles on the 10 freeway November 19, 2005. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Traffic passes downtown Los Angeles on the 10 freeway November 19, 2005.

Credit: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - More Californians are willing to consider tax increases as part of a strategy to trim the budget deficit in the nation's most populous state, according to a poll released late on Wednesday.

In a survey of 2,002 Californians between March 11 and 18, the Public Policy Institute of California found 68 percent describing the state's budget situation as a big problem, and 42 percent saying they favored a mix of more taxes and spending cuts to address the issue.

In December, the PPIC poll found 36 percent backing a mixed approach that included tax increases.

California faces a $7.5 billion state budget shortfall. Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has long ruled out raising taxes and has instead advocated deep spending cuts to balance the books.

The poll found state residents viewing Schwarzenegger less favorably than before, with 44 percent expressing approval of his work in office, down from 50 percent in January and 57 percent in December.

In the survey, which had a sampling error of plus or minus two points, 72 percent said the state's economy was in a recession.

(Reporting by Adam Tanner; editing by Carol Bishopric)

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