The 2016 Louisiana Survey: Public Backs Spending Increase for Schools & Roads, Willing to Pay Higher Taxes to Fund


Results from the 2016 Louisiana Survey show that there is more support for raising taxes to fund key services, such as education and transportation, than for cutting spending from those services. The Louisiana Survey is an annual project of the Reilly Center for Media and Public Affairs at LSU’s Manship School for Mass Communication to identify the opinions of Louisiana residents and share those opinions with state law makers.


A majority – 51 percent – want to increase spending for elementary and secondary education and are willing to pay higher taxes for it. Fifty percent support higher taxes to increase spending for higher education, and 46 percent are willing to pay more taxes to fund roads, bridges and highways. Fewer than ten percent support cuts to any of these areas.


More residents favor cuts than favor raising taxes for additional funding in only expenditure area – public assistance programs such as welfare.


At the same time, when the public is asked about their opinions on taxes separately from their opinions on specific expenditures, most Louisiana residents are content with current levels.


“People are more open to higher taxation if it supports programs they value,” said Dr. Michael Henderson who directed the survey. “This highlights the danger in just asking about spending or just asking about taxes. When people think in terms of tradeoffs that law makers face – deciding between cutting spending to specific programs and raising revenue to pay for those programs – they are willing to pay more in taxes.”


About the Louisiana Survey


Since 2003, the Louisiana Survey has tracked public opinion about contemporary issues and challenges facing the state as well as trends in evaluations of the state’s economic, social, and political affairs.


The 2016 Louisiana Survey was administered over the telephone from February 1st to February 26th to both landline and cell phone respondents. The project includes a representative sample of 1,001 adult Louisiana residents. The total sample has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points.


This is the first in a series of releases about findings from the 2016 Louisiana Survey.


A copy of the report is are available at



Michael Henderson
Public Policy Research Lab