Conservatively Speaking

State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.

Major differences of opinion about taxes


When it comes to Americans’ views about taxes, there is a stark contrast between political parties and ideologies.

The nonpartisan Tax Foundation in Washington D.C. has just released the results of its 2009 nationwide survey on attitudes of American taxpayers. The survey was conducted between February 18 and 27, 2009 among 2,002 adults (aged 18 or older).

This year, the Tax Foundation for the first time asked respondents to give their party affiliation from four choices: Republican, Democrat, Independent and Other.  Respondents were also asked to identify their political philosophy: conservative, moderate and liberal.

You will note the difference of opinion from the answers given by the various groups.

Tax Burdens

Republicans are more inclined to believe their federal income tax bill is too high, 61 percent, than Democrats, 51 percent. Independents are at 61 percent.

Two-thirds, 66 percent of conservatives say their federal income tax is too high, moderates, 55 percent, liberals, 44 percent. A slightly higher percentage of liberals, 45 percent believe their income tax bills are just right.

What about the maximum percentage of income that should go to all taxes?

Democrats say 17 percent, Republicans, 14.4 percent, Independents, 14.8 percent. The average percentage for liberals was 18.9 percent, moderates, 15.1 percent, conservatives, 14.4 percent.

Government Services and Spending

Respondents were asked how much they would be willing to pay in a year for all government services.

Republicans would pay an average of $9,985, Democrats, $7,616, Independents, $5,805, moderates, $8,171, liberals, $7,714 and conservatives, $6,668.

Republicans, 46 percent, and Independents, 42 percent, are more likely to support a decrease in services and lower taxes than keeping taxes and services where they are (35 percent for Republicans, 29 percent for Independents).

For Democrats, the numbers are much different, with 44 percent wanting to keep taxes and services where they are, and 21 percent wanting to decrease services and taxes.

More liberals, 35 percent, and moderates, 42 percent want to keep services and taxes where they are than want to decrease services and taxes (23 percent, liberals, 27 percent, moderates).

Over half, 54 percent of conservatives support a decrease in services and taxes, 27 percent want to keep taxes and services where they are.

What about increasing services and raising taxes?

Democrats are more likely to want to do both at 16 percent than Independents, 12 percent, and Republicans, two percent, liberals, 23 percent, moderates, 10 percent, and conservatives, three percent.

Tax Deductions and the Estate Tax

Respondents were asked if they would be willing to sacrifice some deductions in return for an across the board cut in federal income tax rates.

Republicans were more likely to be in support, 51 percent than Democrats, 40 percent and Independents, 45 percent.

More conservatives like the idea, 51 percent than liberals, 40 percent, and moderates, 41 percent.

Respondents were asked if they support the total elimination of the estate tax. Republicans overwhelmingly said yes, 79 percent compared to Democrats, 55 percent. Independents came in at 74 percent.  Support among conservatives was 81 percent, liberals, 50 percent, moderates, 65 percent.

Fairness of “Non-Payers” and Wealth Redistribution

Respondents were asked if it is fair or unfair that millions of filers have no federal income tax liability after credits and deductions.Three-fourths, 75 percent of Republicans said all should be required to pay some minimum amount of tax compared to 63 percent of Democrats and 65 percent of Independents, 75 percent of conservatives, 49 percent of liberals, and 67 percent of moderates.

Democrats, 74 percent, and Independents, 53 percent like the idea of higher tax rates for higher wage-earners while 58 percent of Republicans oppose. Liberals, 74 percent, and moderates, 60 percent, support the idea, and 57 percent of conservatives oppose.

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