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

BATON ROUGE – Results from the 2017 Louisiana Survey show that the share of Louisiana residents who support raising taxes to fund schools, colleges, health care and roads far exceeds the share who want to reduce spending in these areas.

The Louisiana Survey is an annual project of the Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs at LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication, which identifies the opinions of Louisiana residents on important public policy areas and shares those opinions with state policy decision makers.

Sixty-two percent of Louisianans support raising taxes for spending on elementary and secondary education. Similar majorities support increased taxes for higher education (59 percent), health care (53 percent), and transportation infrastructure (57 percent). Just 12 percent or fewer want to cut spending for any of these areas.   

At the same time, most residents want lawmakers to use a mix of spending cuts alongside tax increases to deal with the state’s budget shortfall. 

It is not clear, however, what taxes the public supports raising. Most (54 percent) think the state’s personal income tax is about right and nearly half (47 percent) think the state’s sales tax is about right. The share who believe the sales tax is too high and needs to be reduced rose 12 percentage points from a year ago to 44 percent.

Fifty percent of residents support a proposal to lower the state’s personal income tax rates while expanding the tax base by limiting deductions. In contrast, 57 percent oppose a proposal to lower the state’s sales tax rate while expanding the base by applying it to certain purchases not currently subject to the tax. 

There is more clarity when it comes to raising the gasoline tax to fund transportation infrastructure. A majority favors proposals to increase the state’s tax on gasoline five cents, 10 cents and even up to 20 cents per gallon.  

About the Louisiana Survey
Since 2003, the Louisiana Survey has tracked public opinion about policy issues in the state. The 2017 Louisiana Survey was administered over the telephone from Feb. 23 to March 23, 2017, to both landline and cell phone respondents.  The project includes a representative sample of 1,012 adult Louisiana residents.  The total sample has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points.     

This is the first in a series of six releases on results from the 2017 Louisiana Survey.    

A copy of the report is available at




Contact Michael Henderson
Public Policy Research Lab


Ernie Ballard
LSU Media Relations