2017 Louisiana Survey: Public Supports Raising Taxes to Fund Key Services, But Which Kind of Taxes Remains Unclear

The share of Louisiana residents who support raising taxes to fund elementary and secondary education, higher education, health care, and transportation infrastructure far exceeds the share who favor cuts in these areas. Yet, the 2017 Louisiana Survey, a project of the Reilly Center for Media and Public Affairs at LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication, shows most residents think the state’s personal income and sales taxes are about right at their current levels. There is strong, bipartisan support for raising the state’s tax on gasoline up to an additional 15 cents per gallon to fund transportation infrastructure.

This is the first in a series of six reports from the 2017 Louisiana Survey.


The Louisiana Survey

The Louisiana Survey is sponsored by the Reilly Center for Media and Public Affairs in Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communication. The survey has been conducted each year since 2003 and twice in 2006, establishing rich longitudinal measures of public opinion in Louisiana. The mission of the Louisiana Survey is to establish benchmarks as well as to capture change in residents’ assessments of state government services.  The survey is further dedicated to tracking public opinion on the contemporary policy issues that face the state.  Each iteration of the Louisiana Survey contains core items designed to serve as barometers of public sentiment, including assessments of whether the state is heading in the right direction or wrong direction, perceptions about the most important problems facing the state, as well as evaluations of public revenue sources and spending priorities.


Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

Established by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) is a state-based system of health surveys to collect information on health risk behaviors, preventive health practices, and health care access primarily related to chronic disease and injury. Currently, data are collected monthly in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam. More than 350,000 adults are interviewed each year, making the BRFSS the largest telephone health survey in the world. For many states, the BRFSS is the only available source of timely and accurate data on health-related behavior. The data help states identify emerging health problems, establish and track health objectives, and develop and evaluate public health policies and programs. Many states also use BRFSS data to support health-related legislative efforts. The Public Policy Research Lab administers the BRFSS for two states: Louisiana (since 2008) and Tennessee (since 2014).